Not All Leg Pain Is Sciatica

Leg Pain

Houston Chiropractor Comments: The internet is a wonderful thing … if used correctly. New patients show up for their consultations and examinations at our Houston, Texas office with a wealth of healthcare knowledge that they have learned online. They can enter their symptoms online and a variety of health websites will diagnose their condition and give them a list of possible treatments.

This can work sometimes, but other times … not so well.

A common problem that I see is that all patients with leg pain assume that they have sciatica. Some have even been diagnosed by other doctors or therapists. Luckily, this is not the case.

Sciatica refers to pain that travels along the path of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve travels from the buttocks and down each leg. Sciatica most often happens when a herniated disk or an overgrowth of bone puts pressure on the lumbar spine nerve roots. This happens “upstream” from the sciatic nerve.

An easy way to determine if it is sciatica or just referred pain from the lumbar spine or pelvis is if the pain radiates down past the knee. Only nerve pain will cross two joints, in this case the hip and knee. If the pain stops in the hamstring or the front of the thigh, it is not sciatica. Usually, the sciatic patient will present with a sharp pain on the outside of their calf.

Another aspect of sciatica is that it is typically only on one side. If the pain radiates down both legs, it is usually caused by some other condition.

If it is a mild case of sciatica, you can usually treat the condition by yourself with a combination of ice/heat, over-the-counter pain medication, and stretching. The stretches that I suggest can be found in the video I’ve shared below . Walking is also beneficial since it allows motion of the spine, pelvis, and legs. This allows the body to release endorphins and reduce inflammation.

If the sciatica is more severe or does not respond to the above treatment, I have noted while treating patients for 35 years in my Clear Lake City office, that proper chiropractic care gives the best and most lasting relief. With a careful examination and the correct chiropractic treatment, I have noticed that most patients have significant relief in 1-3 visits over a 1-week period-of-time and resolution of the complaint in 1-month.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston,     TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!