Although there can be a correlation between sciatica and leg swelling, the cause is not always clear. Sciatica is a general term describing symptoms caused by compression of the sciatic nerve which starts in the lower back and runs all the way down the leg. In addition to pain in the lower back, compression of this nerve also causes radiating symptoms like tingling, numbness and muscle weakness in the hips, buttocks and legs.
Leg swelling is more commonly associated with fluid retention and circulatory issues, not nerve compression, so it is not typically listed as a sciatica symptom. However, sciatica and leg swelling can be connected because the pain and limited mobility from sciatica often lead to an inactive lifestyle that can cause fluid buildup and blood flow problems. If you have been living with sciatica and are also dealing with swelling in your legs, it is important to see your doctor for a clear diagnosis of what is causing both conditions. Learn more about the connection between sciatica and leg swelling in the following article.
Diagnosing sciatica and leg swelling
The best way to diagnose sciatica, leg swelling and any other issues in your lower extremities is to visit your primary care doctor. A doctor can diagnose if another underlying issue, such as a problem with your heart or kidneys, is the cause of leg swelling. This is usually determined through a review of medical history, blood tests, a physical examination and possibly diagnostic imagery like an MRI. Once a diagnosis has been made, you and your doctor can work together to develop a treatment plan to ease the discomfort associated with sciatica and leg swelling in order to help you get back to a fuller, more active life.
Sciatica and leg swelling treatment options
Many patients are able to find relief from sciatica symptoms through a course of conservative therapies, as recommended by their doctor. These methods can include physical therapy, pain medication, periods of rest and exercise. For leg swelling, treatments like elevation, exercise and reduced sodium intake are often prescribed. Surgery to treat sciatica and leg swelling can be considered if weeks or months of nonsurgical options do not bring you relief of your symptoms and return you to normal activity.
If you are considering surgery for sciatica and leg swelling but are concerned about the risks and difficulties of traditional open spine procedures, contact USA Spine Care for a safer and effective alternative.^ We specialize in minimally invasive spine surgery, which uses a less than 1-inch muscle-sparing incision to access the spine.
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If you would like more information about the state-of-the-art procedures we offer at USA Spine Care, reach out to our dedicated team for a no-cost MRI review* to see if you are a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery.