Pain in Left Side and Left Leg: Sciatica

What causes pain in the left side of the waist and left leg? Is it a serious situation? Is a doctor’s check necessary? What to do to pass? What is good for back and leg pain? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a common cause of pain in the left lower back and left leg. Sciatica is a nerve pain that starts in the lower back and radiates to the hip and back of one leg. Pain is usually caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve from a herniated disc, bony prominence, or muscle strain. Pain in the left lower back and left leg from sciatica usually goes away with rest, physical therapy, and other self-care measures. If you have chronic sciatica, surgical treatment may be required.

Types of sciatica

Pain in the left lower back and left leg from sciatica ranges from mild to severe and can be acute or chronic.

Acute sciatic pain comes on suddenly and usually gets better within a few days to weeks. The severity is directly related to the amount of tissue injury. The source of the pain may be in the joints of the spine, discs, nerves, or muscles and ligaments.

Chronic sciatic pain lasts for more than 3 months and its source can be difficult to identify. Chronic pain may be felt all the time or may become worse with certain activities. Triggering factors include nerve damage, scarring, arthritis, or the mental effects of pain. People with chronic symptoms may be referred to a pain specialist.

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Causes of sciatica

Sciatica, which can also cause pain in the left lower back and left leg, can be caused by a number of conditions that irritate or compress the sciatic nerve, such as:

  • Piriformis syndrome: Tightening or spasm of the piriformis muscle can compress the nerve.
  • Trauma: A sports injury or fall can fracture the spine or tear a muscle and damage nerves.
  • Herniated disc: The gel-like center of the spinal disc can bulge or rupture through a weak area in the disc wall and pinch nerves.
  • Stenosis: Narrowing of the bony canals in the spine can compress the spinal cord and nerves.
  • Osteoarthritis: Discs naturally dry out and shrink as they age, small tears in the disc wall can be painful and bone spurs can form.
  • Spondylolisthesis: A weakness or stress fracture in the facet joints can cause a vertebra to slip out of place and compress nerves.

NOT:

Pain in the left lower back and left leg can also be caused by a joint problem in the hip or sacroiliac joint. This type of referred pain is quite common, but sciatica is not.

Symptoms of sciatica

Classic sciatic pain begins in the lower back and buttocks. It affects one leg down the back of the thigh, past the knee, and sometimes towards the calf and foot. The pain is felt worse in the leg than in the back. It can range from a mild ache to a severe or feverish ache. You may experience numbness or tingling in your legs and feet. Right-sided sciatica affects the right side of the lower back and the right leg, while left-sided sciatica can trigger pain in the left lower back and left leg. This is not usually a cause for concern unless you have leg muscle weakness and gait problems.

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Mostly, sitting causes pain due to the weight of this position on the discs. Reclining tends to provide relief, while activities such as bending or twisting can worsen the pain. Running or walking can actually feel better than sitting or standing for too long.

If you have extreme weakness in your legs, numbness in the genital area, or loss of bladder or bowel function, it is recommended that you seek medical attention immediately. These are symptoms of a condition called cauda equina syndrome .

Diagnose sciatica

A careful medical examination aims to determine the type of spine problem, its cause, and treatment options. Diagnostic evaluation includes medical history and physical examination. Sometimes imaging scans such as CT or MRI and other tests are used to check muscle strength and reflexes.

Sciatica Treatment

Recovery for pain in the left lower back and left leg caused by sciatica begins with self-care and non-surgical strategies. The goal is to correct the problem, restore function, and prevent re-injury.

Personal care

Leg and lower back pain from sciatica usually improves with rest, ice or heat, massage, pain relievers, and gentle stretching. You can reduce muscle inflammation and pain by using an ice pack for 20 minutes several times a day for the first 48 to 72 hours. Afterwards, a warm shower or heating pad on a low setting can also be used to relax the muscles. Short-term bed rest is fine and may improve pain in the left lower back and left leg, but more than a few days will do more harm than good. If self-care treatments do not work within the first few days, it is recommended that you see your doctor.

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Medication

Over-the -counter pain medications such as aspirin , ibuprofen , or naproxen may provide relief. A muscle relaxant may be prescribed for spasms. If the pain is severe, an analgesic may be prescribed, which can be taken with over-the-counter pain relievers or muscle relaxants.

Steroids can reduce swelling and inflammation of the nerves. They are taken orally by reducing or by injection directly into the painful area over a five-day period. Steroids can provide instant pain relief within 24 hours.

Physiotheraphy

For pain in the left lower back and left leg caused by sciatica, an almost normal physical therapy program is recommended from the start. Physical therapy can help you return to full activity as soon as possible and prevent re-injury. Physiotherapists will demonstrate proper lifting and walking techniques and exercises to strengthen and stretch your lower back, leg and abdominal muscles. Massage, diathermy, heat and traction may also be recommended for short periods. Patients may also benefit from yoga, chiropractic manipulation, and acupuncture.

Surgical treatment

Surgical treatment is rarely needed unless you have muscle weakness, a proven disc herniation, cauda equina syndrome, or severe pain that does not improve after reasonable nonsurgical treatment. If surgical treatment is necessary, for example, a herniated disc surgery called a discectomy removes the part of the disc that is compressing the spinal nerve, thereby curing the pain caused by sciatica.

As a result

Pain in the left side of the lower back and left leg is often caused by a condition called sciatica. The reason why the pain spreads this way is related to the sciatic nerve, which extends to the waist in both legs. Sometimes pain is relieved by self-care strategies or over-the-counter medications, while sometimes doctor-recommended treatments are required.

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