Have you been dealing with lower back, buttock, and leg pain that just won’t quit? If so, you may be wondering if you have sciatica. Left untreated, sciatica pain can last anywhere from 4-8 weeks and may even turn into a chronic, lifelong issue. Sciatica is a condition that’s frequently over diagnosed, and it’s easy to confuse sciatica pain with other types of chronic pain. But sciatica is a specific diagnosis. It’s when irritation of your sciatic nerve, usually from the midline of the buttock, is causing the symptoms. But pain in that same area can be caused by muscle referred patterns instead of your sciatic nerve. Your symptoms are real, but it is your physical therapist’s job to figure out which tissues are causing them. So if you’ve been hitting Dr. Google to search for what you’re feeling, it might not be what you think. Instead, use Google to search for a physical therapy clinic for chronic pain near me. A physical therapist can help relieve some of the discomfort associated with sciatic or pseudo sciatic pain through a variety of methods, such as hot and cold therapy, stretching and exercise, and dry needling. Perhaps more importantly, we can help you understand whether or not what you’re feeling is actually sciatica. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how dry needling near me can help with your sciatica pain. What Is Sciatica? A sciatica is caused by an irritated sciatic nerve. Your sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body and helps you control movement and experience feeling in your legs. It branches off your spinal cord and runs through your hips and buttocks before branching down each of your legs. Your sciatic nerve can get irritated due to an underlying injury located in or around the sciatic nerve. Sciatic pain often emerges suddenly in your lower back before spreading into the buttocks and leg over the span of multiple weeks. Is Sciatica Overdiagnosed? If you’re searching for lower back pain treatment in Washington DC, you might be diagnosed with sciatica. But many types of lower back and leg pain can mimic the symptoms of sciatica. For example, pain that originates from your back and leg muscles but doesn’t affect your sciatic nerve might be mistaken for a sciatica. However, true sciatic pain involves nerve pain around your knee and below, as well as a potential numbness, tingling and muscle weakness. Your diagnosis guides your treatment. So it’s important to speak to a Washington DC physical therapist to get an accurate diagnosis. What Does Actual Sciatica Feel Like? True sciatica pain involves shooting pain throughout your lower back, buttock, hips, and legs. Depending on its root cause, sciatica pain may present differently from person to person. In addition to the pain, some people with sciatica pain also experience weakness, burning sensations, and numbness in the affected areas. Sciatica may also present alongside symptoms of nerve damage. This includes pain that worsens with movement and the sensation of pins and needles in your feet and toes. In rare cases, sciatica can impair your ability to control your bladder and bowels. Although rare, these symptoms might be confused with cauda equina syndrome. The symptoms of cauda equine syndrome are: \tPelvic floor numbness in areas that would be touching a saddle \tSudden, severe weakness in your legs \tLosing control of your bladder or bowels If you have these symptoms, please seek emergency medical attention. What Causes Sciatica? Sciatica might occur due to a number of factors. It can be a result of a pinched nerve, which can happen due to a number of different spine and neck conditions. In other cases, sciatica is caused by a back injury. Other conditions that can cause sciatic pain include: \tHerniated discs - damage to the layers of cartilage separating your spinal discs \tSpinal stenosis - abnormal narrowing of the lower spinal cord \tSpondylolisthesis - an associated condition of degenerative disc disorder \tPiriformis syndrome - a rare neuromuscular disorder which causes the piriformis muscle to tighten \tDegenerative disc and joint disease \tSerious conditions, such as cancer or infection Additionally, certain risk factors may increase your likelihood of developing sciatica. These include: \tPoor workplace ergonomics \tDiabetes \tSmoking \tObesity Now that you’ve read all about sciatic pain, let’s discuss how dry needling can help. What Is Dry Needling? Dry needling, also referred to as trigger point therapy, is a physical therapy technique often used to treat chronic pain and protect against future injuries. Despite their similarities, dry needling isn’t the same thing as acupuncture. Acupuncture aims to reduce the presence of pain by balancing your body’s energy. In contrast, dry needling involves the stimulation and unknotting specific trigger points where you feel pain. RELATED: Understanding The Difference Between Dry Needling Vs Acupuncture With dry needling, filiform needles are placed into these trigger points, with the goal of relieving your sciatica pain. How Can Dry Needling Help With Sciatica Pain? Dry needling is an excellent choice for the reduction of sciatica or pseudo sciatic pain. The needles provide relief of built up tension located in your muscles. Dry needling can also help with the stimulation of blood flow, thereby reducing the presence of pain. Additionally, dry needling can help to decrease tightness in your spinal muscles, thereby reducing the tension on your vertebrae and sciatic nerve. The side effects of dry needling are both rare and minor, which makes it a popular option for pain relief. Contrast with the addictive nature of opioids, and dry needling physical therapy is becoming a more popular option for treating chronic sciatica pain. Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today Of course, dry needling is just one strategy for chronic pain management. Here at Capitol Physical Therapy, our licensed physical therapists offer a variety of different chronic pain management solutions. Whether it’s sciatica or something else that’s causing your chronic pain, we’re here to help. Book your appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy today to get started on a pain free tomorrow.