I noticed a numb-like spot on my back about 5 years ago (I am currently 23) and didn't really think much of it because it's only about the size of a silver dollar. For about a month I’ve been having a periodic tingling sensation in the right side of my back in the same spot. It usually comes and goes, but is starting to come. Far Cry Instincts Xbox there.
Common Symptoms of Sciatica Numbness and Tingling in your Legs and feet Numbness and tingling are common symptoms of sciatica and nerve root impingement ( also called a pinched nerve in layman's terms.) Sciatica simply means an irritation of the sciatic nerve The nervous system is made up of: • your brain • your spinal cord • the peripheral nerves which run out from the spine to your arms and legs Advertisement In the lumbar spine, as the spinal cord branches, it forms nerve roots which leave the spine, one on each side at each vertebral level. These nerve roots 'bundle together' to form two major peripheral nerves in the legs, the sciatic nerve and the femoral nerve. The large sciatic nerve runs from your lower back through the buttock area and down the back of your leg and calf. The femoral nerve starts from nerve roots slightly higher up the lumbar spine and runs down the front of your thigh and shin. The Lumbar Plexus - showing sciatic and femoral nerve origins in the spine Both the femoral and sciatic nerves are made up of different types of nerve fibres including motor fibres which control muscles and movement, but also importantly, sensory fibres which control feeling. If the sciatic nerve is irritated, then these sensory fibres can get involved and can't do their job properly. This leads to the changes in feeling that happen with a pinched nerve.
Aside from severe pain (which is a very nasty change in feeling) the other very common symptoms of sciatica are numbness and tingling in the feet and legs. If the nerve is particularly irritated and the motor fibres are involved you can have tingling, numbness and weakness in the legs. Occasionally you also lose a spinal reflex - which is where you are tapped on the knee or ankle to see if they jerk involuntarily. You won't know if there is a change to this, your doctor will test for it.
Symptoms of Sciatica Where you feel the tingling and numbness in the leg or feet tells us which nerve root irritation you have. The femoral nerve starts with the nerve roots from L2-L4 (L=Lumbar, so this means from the 2nd to the 4th lumbar level), the sciatic nerve has roots from lower down L4-S3 (S=Sacral). Because they originate in different places where you feel the symptoms of sciatica including numbness and tingling in the legs, tells us roughly which pinched nerve or nerve root impingement you have. The following chart shows are approximation of the distribution of nerve root pain and numbness, these are called dermatomes in medical terms.
Dermatome chart In my clinical experience the most common sciatic nerve symptom is numbness and weakness and pain in the L5-S1 distribution, this is down the back of the leg and into the outside of the foot. What causes these symptoms of sciatica?
Anything that causes a nerve root irritation can cause sciatica, this is most commonly a lumbar disc bulge or prolapse. Occasionally age changes can cause a narrowing of the amount of space that the nerve root needs when it leaves the spine, this is called foraminal spinal stenosis and it can cause the same symptoms as a disc bulge. You can read more about Is it normal to have either numbness or tingling just in the one leg or foot without lower back pain? Yes it is, if you have a nerve root irritation there is a good chance you won't have back pain at all.