Do You Have Fake Sciatica?

About the Author: Dr. Scott Gray

Dr. Scott Gray is the Owner of Back in Motion Physical Therapy & Performance. Each and Every Week He Helps His Clients & Patients Live Their Life to the Fullest, Get Active, and Get Pain-Free.


So many of our current clients and patients come to us for complaints of sciatica, and the truth is, the majority of clients really don’t have sciatica.


They may have back pain, pain in the buttock, hip, and sometimes those symptoms can mimic true sciatica.


So let’s just backtrack for a second, sciatic really is an irritation of the sciatic nerve and it comes from the spine at L4-5, and S1, S2, & S3.


It comes down into the leg and into the buttock here, and you can get symptoms down into the hamstring. It starts in the buttocks, and you can even get some of the different branches where it branches down into the lower extremity.


That’s true sciatica.


Three Things That We Commonly See That Mimic Sciatica….


Now conversely if you just have, dull achy pain on the outside of the hip, you may some groin pain, you even have some back pain, it usually isn’t sciatica.


The three things that we commonly see that mimic sciatica is trochanteric, bursitis, or hip tendinopathy.


Your butt muscles come off the outside and they attach to the outside part of the hip.


And usually, patients who think they have sciatica will sometimes have pain when sitting, they’ll have pain when walking, and they’ll usually have pain if they kick their leg out to the side when the muscle contracts.


And so that’s not sciatica, it’s a totally different, diagnosis and a different treatment.


Groin Pain….


Now similarly, sometimes people think they have sciatica when they have groin pain…


When you have groin, that’s usually more indicative of the hip joint pathology.


Usually, patients who have groin pain will have pain with prolonged walking or if they go into like a deep squat, or if they rotate, and there’s some sort of pathology whether it be osteoarthritis of the hip. Maybe even a labral tear.


You may even have just some effusion and swelling in the joint itself.


Back Pain…


The last thing that really mimics sciatica is just back pain in general, right?


Just like you’ve got an elbow joint, wrist joint, you’ve got knee joints, you’ve spinal joints called the facet joints.


A lot of times if you get back pain, it’s usually these facet joints can be compressed and irritated, and it can mimic sciatica and you think,


“Oh, my God, I have sciatica.” But you really don’t.


You may have irritation on that joint, and that joint just needs to be stretched out.



Free Report Reveals …How to Overcome Sciatic Nerve Pain Without Surgery, Resting, or Painkillers…


Three Tests To Discern If You Actually Have True Sciatica…


I’m gonna show a couple of tests that you can do and what we do in the clinic to discern if you have potentially true sciatica. You can refer to the video at the top of this page to watch exactly how these exercises work.


#1 Slump Test


The first one we wanna do, you just put tension on the sciatic nerve, and so if you have, true sciatica you’ll have, you know, pain or difficulty with this test and potential pain, maybe numbness and tingling.


What we do is this is a thing called a slump test where, you are going to slouch while sitting and then from here the doctor will try to straighten out your leg and pull your foot up.


So usually, a positive test indicating sciatica is that this increases your symptoms in your back or potentially even into the buttock and down the hamstring, then that is a positive test for sciatica.



#2 Piriformis Muscle


The next test is to put tension on the Piriformis muscle where the sciatic nerve runs through.


So if you have sciatica, potentially this could irritate that sciatic nerve maybe even have some buttock pain, maybe even be indicative of it feels good and it relieves symptoms. It’s a really good test to discern.


The first lay on your back and a Doctor will bring your leg up, bending the knee, and bring the leg up and across


This could potentially elicit symptoms if it’s entrapped there, may even relieve it.


So that tells you that the Piriformis muscle is tight. That’s a good test to really discern that.


sciatica treatment fort myers


#3 Palpitate Muscles The Sciatic Nerve Runs Through..


If we’ve ruled out the hip joint, hip bursitis, and we’ve ruled out the back, another test we can do is palpating some of these muscles where the sciatic nerve runs through.


So the Piriformis muscle, is that deep butt muscle, and if we were to touch it, and it felt guarded and increased tone, or it increased symptoms down the leg, then we know, okay this is sciatica.


Then we can also go into the hamstrings here and kinda palpate where the hamstrings come together and, again, if that increased any symptoms, then it would probably, be ruling in sciatica.


There you have it, those are three quick and easy tests that you can do to discern if you really have sciatica.



Are You Ready To Rid Of Unrelenting Back Pain Naturally & Permanently?


Sciatica’s something that a lot of patients come into our clinic for on a day-to-day basis, but usually they don’t have sciatica, it’s usually something with the hip joint or even the lower back itself.


If you do have sciatica, you don’t need to suffer any longer.


We offer a free discovery visit to see if we can help you. To claim that all you need to do is hit the button below and one of our specialists will be in contact with you.


I hope this information was informative and we look forward to getting you back in motion.


Call our office at 239-223-0484 and schedule your appointment today!


We offer Physical Therapy in Fort Myers, FL, and Physical Therapy in Cape Coral, FL.


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