Although health care professionals have made generalities about the pain of sciatica, finding the commonalities among sciatica sufferers, the type, range, and frequency of sciatica pain differs from individual to individual. This can be attributed to individual differences as well as what is causing the sciatica pain. Although your symptoms should mostly align with those listed below if you have sciatica, remember that what is true of most individuals with sciatica may not always apply to you. Keep this in mind as you read, whether you are matching up your pain symptoms or learning about what to expect from sciatica during your pregnancy.
Type of Sciatica Pain: What does it Feel Like?
With sciatica pain, you will experience general discomfort and pain in your lower back and buttocks. However, the real pain happens in your legs. Read on to find out more.
A Bad Leg Cramp: Sciatica pain has often been described as “shooting” pain that “radiates” from the lower body into the buttocks and legs, extending sometimes as far as the foot. Some have compared it to a bad leg cramp–one that sticks around for days and sometimes even weeks. If these key words apply to the pain you feel, you may be experiencing sciatica.
“Pins and Needles”: The pain in sciatica can also take the form of tingling or numbness, as there is disrupted communication between the muscles in the legs and the brain. In these cases, many equate the feeling with the “pins and needles” experienced when a foot falling asleep. However, this numbness does not always go away upon moving. Expect longer-lasting numbness with sciatica. If numbness persists, you want to consult your doctor immediately, as it may indicate a more serious problem.
Range of Sciatica Pain: From Mild to Debilitating
Here’s where a lot of variability comes into play. Depending on the cause of your sciatica pain, the pain can range from mild to severe and even debilitating pain. While more mild versions of sciatica pain promise full recovery, more severe pain (as it may indicate a more serious problem) may require longer treatment or even surgery to correct. Sciatica pain also has the potential to fluctuate in degree of pain, depending on the activities you are doing.
Just as with the range of sciatica pain, the frequency of pain experienced varies. The cause of your sciatica pain determines whether or not your pain will be intermittent or constant. Certain activities may, however, aggravate the sciatic nerve and trigger sporadic moments of greater pain.
Women with sciatica pain during pregnancy usually report continual pain, as their pain is caused by the baby’s weight pressing against the sciatic nerve. If the baby moves or changes positions, the soon-to-be mother may experience relief, but the pain typically stays until she gives birth.