Sciatica and Constipation

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Justine Fritzel

Justine has been a Registered Nurse for 10 years and has a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing degree.

Back pain can be miserable and can be caused by many different things. In this lesson, we'll learn about the connection between sciatica and constipation.

The Pain Is Affecting My Life!

Sarah is a 35-year-old female that leads a busy lifestyle. She works a stressful full-time job as well as raising three young children with her husband. As with many busy people, she eats a poor diet because of the rush of her days.

A few weeks ago, Sarah starting having significant pain in her back, butt, and down her right leg. She figured she must have pulled her back although she didn't remember doing anything. She hadn't lifted anything heavy either. She tried to ignore it at first but when it didn't go away, she decided she needed to see her doctor.

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  • 0:03 The Pain is Affecting my Life!
  • 0:34 What Is Sciatica?
  • 1:41 Constipation and Sciatica
  • 3:25 Lesson Summary
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What Is Sciatica?

Sarah visits with Dr. Smith the next week. After hearing Sarah's symptoms, he told her she is having sciatica. Sciatica is a symptom of some other condition. The sciatic nerve starts around the third lumbar vertebrae, which is your lower back. Each level of vertebrae has a nerve root and these combine to make the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in the body.

Sciatica is pain from some type of pressure being placed on the sciatic nerve. There can be different causes of the pressure, often it is from a herniated disc due to heavy lifting. Hallmark symptoms with sciatica are pain in the lower back, buttocks, and down the leg. Usually sciatica only affects one side of the body. The pain is often described as both sharp and dull.

Sarah agrees with this and says sometimes she has a sensation of pins and needles in her leg. Occasionally, she even has some numbness in her leg. She shares with the doctor that it seems to be worse after she has been sitting for a long time.

Dr. Smith gives her some stretches to do and encourages her to take some ibuprofen when needed. He advises her to return if her pain doesn't improve in the next week.

Constipation and Sciatica

Unfortunately, Sarah's pain continued to get worse. The next week she went back to see Dr. Smith again. He ordered an imaging test called an MRI to see what is causing the pressure on her sciatic nerve.

After the results were back from the MRI, Dr. Smith asked Sarah to come back in to see him. He told her that she didn't have a herniated disc pushing on the nerve. There was no narrowing of the vertebrae or tumor pushing on the nerve either.

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