How sciatica and knee pain are related

Sciatica is a set of symptoms, including lower body issues such as knee pain, caused when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed. The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest spinal nerve in the body, splitting off from the lower spine and running all the way down both legs. Sciatica can be extremely debilitating, taking enjoyment out of everyday tasks, such as walking your dog.

If you are dealing with knee pain and are wondering if it is related to sciatica, learning about the underlying causes and symptoms of this condition can be an important step in getting you the care you need. The information in the following article can help you make a knowledgeable treatment decision for your sciatica symptoms to get you back to the activities you love.

Understanding how sciatica causes knee pain

Sciatica is often caused by a degenerative spine condition, such as osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease, which can put pressure on the spinal nerves. Nerve compression can lead to radiating symptoms in addition to local pain. For example, an affected nerve in the cervical (upper) spine can cause symptoms in the shoulders, arms and hands.

Since the sciatic nerve travels from the lumbar (lower) spine, it affects the hips, buttocks, legs and feet. Sciatica symptoms include:

  • Pain that radiates through the buttocks and downward in one leg
  • Numbness or muscle weakness in the legs or toes
  • Tingling in the lower extremities
  • Hip or knee pain

Sciatica and knee pain can be related because the pain, tingling and numbness in other parts of the body might change a patient’s stride. In turn, this can place excess pressure on the knee joints, which can accelerate deterioration of joint cartilage and cause painful inflammation.

Treatment options for sciatica and knee pain

Physical therapy and a course of other conservative treatment methods often provide relief from sciatica and associated symptoms like knee pain. However, if symptoms persist after several weeks or months, surgery might become an option.

If you are concerned about the difficulties of a traditional open back surgery, including hospitalization and a long recovery period, contact Laser Spine Institute to get started on your journey to wellness. Our outpatient procedures allow patients to enjoy no lengthy recovery and are safer and effective alternatives to traditional open spine procedures.^ Our surgeons are able to use a muscle-sparing, less than 1-inch incision, to access the spine and return you back to your daily routine.

Reach out to Laser Spine Institute today to request a no-cost MRI review* and determine if you may be a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.

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