3 Health Conditions Mistaken for Sciatica

sciatica pain relief doctor in Trinity

Getting a sciatica diagnosis may face little hiccups along the way. This is because different health conditions mimic sciatica symptoms. Therefore, before you pursue a sciatica pain relief doctor in Trinity, it's best to arm yourself with additional information about conditions that may confuse both you and your healthcare provider with sciatica. In addition, ruling out other similar conditions can significantly help to lead you to proper care.

Sciatica is a common condition that brings discomfort to millions of Americans each year. The telling sign of this condition is pain and discomfort that radiates from the lower back down the leg. If you experience such pain, it may be tempting to identify it as sciatica right away and move forward to find relief. However, it's helpful to be informed that other conditions bring out similar symptoms. Let's explore three other health conditions that are often mistaken for sciatica.

#1. Joint problems in the spine

This condition brings pain felt in the spinal joints down into the leg, just like how it is with sciatica—however, joint problems in the spine call for a different remedy. For example, joint degeneration caused by spinal arthritis may trigger sciatica-type symptoms. Hence it can be easily mistaken for sciatica. In addition, other joints in the lower back and legs can cause pain similar to sciatica when irritated or worn down.

You should check for numbness or tingling sensations to set sciatica apart from other joint conditions. When joint conditions cause the problem, they do not typically trigger numbness or tingling sensations from the lower back down to the legs. A sciatica pain relief doctor in Trinity can shed more light on how sciatica differs from joint problems in the spine.

However, this telling sign can get tricky also because not everyone with sciatica is guaranteed to experience numbness or tingling. The most recommended way to distinguish joint conditions from sciatica is by getting yourself checked by a professional capable of distinguishing sciatica from a joint problem. Taking down notes of your symptoms can be helpful when you check yourself too!

Osteoarthritis is considered the most common type of spinal arthritis. Usually, this happens when the cartilage between your joints deteriorates or breaks down, leading to inflammation and friction between bones. As a result, there will be signs of pain, stiffness, swelling, and even loss of mobility in the affected joints when osteoarthritis happens. Older adults tend to develop this condition more, but injury or muscle overuse can also be a contributing cause of this condition.

#2. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

Sciatica and sacroiliac joint dysfunction may show similar symptoms, but these are two different conditions requiring different remedies. A compressed and irritated sciatic nerve usually causes sciatica, while sacroiliac joint dysfunction is caused by the sacroiliac joint moving too much or too little. Your sacroiliac joint is the part that connects the bottom of your spine to your pelvis.

When there is excessive or too little motion in your sacroiliac joints, pain that travels down your leg and feels like sciatica can follow. But before rushing for help from a sciatica pain relief doctor in Trinity, you may need to confirm your diagnosis. It's best to clarify with your healthcare provider how the numbness, tingling, or pain you feel in the lower back down the leg relates to your sacroiliac joint's hypermobility or lack of mobility. This way, you can determine the best course of care to explore.

#3. Piriformis syndrome

If you notice radiating pain with numbness and tingling sensations in the buttocks area and not the lower back, it may point to signs of piriformis syndrome rather than sciatica.

This condition is due to muscle spasms in the piriformis muscle found in your buttocks, which irritates the nearby sciatic nerve. To deal with this condition, your healthcare provider needs to identify why spasms occur and manage them to stop them from happening again. 

When your piriformis muscle in the buttocks irritates the sciatic nerve, you will notice pain that radiates along the path of the nerve into your leg. Despite the similarity to sciatica, it is considered different due to the nerve irritation in the buttocks and lower back. Strengthening and stretching exercises combined with specialized massage techniques help manage this condition. In some cases, anti-inflammatory medication works too.

sciatica pain relief doctor in Trinity

Causes of Sciatica

There is no single cause of sciatica, but experts consider the following to contribute to its development:

  • Herniated or ruptured disk
  • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis 
  • Bone Spur 
  • Spondylolisthesis 
  • Infection 
  • Injury
  • Tumors 
  • Cauda Equina Syndrome


Upper Cervical Spine Misalignment and Sciatica

You may wonder how an upper cervical spine misalignment is linked to sciatica. It's because a misalignment that starts from the top two bones, the C1, and C2 vertebrae, which consist of your upper cervical spine, tends to influence the alignment of your whole spine, including the lower back.

If your topmost spine bones are misaligned, the succeeding bones tend to compensate, shifting their alignment, which can also lead to the movement of muscles, tissues, ligaments, and joints in the back, including those near your sciatic nerve. This movement can end up irritating your sciatic nerve, which triggers a whole set of sciatica symptoms.

Your spine's overall health starts from the top; removing its interference or correcting alignment issues will help improve your body's circulation. Upper cervical chiropractic care only deals with the uppermost bones of the neck. A series of adjustments on your C1 and C2 vertebrae can potentially get rid of symptoms that arise due to a possible misalignment.


Find a sciatica pain relief doctor in Trinity

Sciatica usually causes pain in the lower back and legs. The sciatic nerve is the largest in the body, and when it becomes irritated or compressed, numbness, pain, and tingling sensations in the affected area may follow. Dr. Dustin Dingus has been a go-to and trusted upper cervical chiropractic doctor who has helped many patients in Trinity and nearby cities dealing with sciatica symptoms.

So if you need someone who got your back, it's time to make that appointment for upper cervical care. You can reserve your slot by calling our office at (727) 514-8532 or using this online contact form.


To schedule a consultation with Dr. Dingus, call our Trinity office at 727-514-8532. You can also click the button below.

If you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.

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