How is it possible that sciatica can cause only pain and no other symptoms like numbness or tingling?

“Symptoms of sciatica can vary,” begins Dr. Jeff Langmaid, DC, founder/owner of The Evidence Based Chiropractor, LLC, in Florida, a research-based marketing and practice growth company that serves thousands of chiropractors across the globe.

. Patients can experience burning and pain, numbness and tingling. Symptoms can vary by person depending on where the nerve is injured or affected.

“There are different points along the sciatic nerve where they can be affected. Even within the spine, there are different tissues or structures that can affect the nerve roots which become the sciatic nerve.

“Your symptoms will be based upon the place of compromise and structure causing compression or injury. So that is why different patients may have different symptoms.”

Sciatica Can Affect Even the Foot

Compression of the sciatic nerve at the spinal cord level can actually cause symptoms in the foot on that same side.

A condition called “foot drop” can result. The foot drops when a person walks. There is difficulty flexing the ankle joint, as you would when putting on a pair of socks.

There’s nothing wrong with the foot itself. The problem originates near the spinal cord where the sciatic nerve is irritated.

This is an issue of foot weakness rather than pain. If a person has pain in only one area of the body — the foot — then sciatica probably is not the cause.

Sciatic pain typically presents in the low back, buttocks and/or upper leg.

Sciatica Treatments

Rarely is surgery needed. There’s a host of conservative treatments that have proven very effective, sometimes resolving the issue in a matter of only several weeks.

These consist of medications, physical therapy exercises, stretches and epidural injections in the low back.

In summary, don’t ever say, “This pain can’t possibly be from sciatica because there’s no tingling or numbness.”

Jeff Langmaid, DC
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


Top image: Shutterstock/aceshot1