Sciatica Knee Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
We all at some point in our lives experience knee pain. That’s because the knee is the only joint that bears maximum body pressure. If you have knee pain that is accompanied by pain in the back, then it might be sciatica knee pain.
Are you experiencing similar knee pain or have already been diagnosed with sciatica knee pain? If yes, then read more to learn about this condition.
This article will help you dive deeper and know all about sciatica knee pain so that you can opt for suitable treatment options and get better.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a pain that arises due to a compressed or damaged sciatic nerve. The pain occurs in the lower back and buttocks. It usually runs down the knee and then the foot. This is because the sciatic nerve originates at the end of the spine and runs down the toes.
The pain is felt as an electric shock or a sudden ache. Sciatica can be acute or chronic, depending upon the cause of its occurrence.
Now let’s know about the knee pain that arises due to sciatica and how you can get rid of it.
Is your sciatica causing knee pain?
Yes, it might be the cause of your knee pain. But sciatic pain is not the only underlying issue that can cause knee pain. Many other conditions can make your knee/knees ache (discussed below).
Let’s talk about the knee pain that is caused by sciatica. The sciatic nerve can compress in a way that your thighs also ache due to inflammation and added pressure. This pain can travel to the largest joint of your body, the knee. And this causes the knee to ache, swell, and inability to bend/move.
Remember, sciatic knee pain almost always affects only one knee because sciatica causes pain in one side of the buttock and one corresponding leg.
Symptoms of sciatica knee pain
- Numbness in the knee region so you can’t move your knee much
- Spasm and inability to bend your knee in a normal way
- Tingling or pins and needles. This pain is similar to an electric shock sensation
- Weakness in the knee region
- Pain in only on the knee (typically)
Sciatica is commonly caused by a certain medical condition that affects your lower back. The underlying conditions causing sciatica may affect your spinal discs, nerve roots, joints, and muscles.
Some underlying causes of sciatica knee pain
If you have sciatica, a likely cause of your knee pain might be compression of the L4 spinal nerve root known as L4 radiculopathy.
Common factors for the compression of this nerve root are a herniated disc or spinal stenosis in your lower back.
A damaged L4 nerve root also causes pain in the thigh and leg.
Another possible reason for knee pain due to sciatica is tightness in your hamstrings – these are the groups of muscles located at the back of your thigh. When your hamstrings are tight, the stability in your lower back is reduced, the normal curvature of your lower spine is also altered, and which causes stress in your spinal joints.
These changes may cause lower back pain and stiffness, with radiating pain from your lower back into your knee and eventually leg.
If your knee pain is caused due to sciatica, your doctor will typically focus on treating the underlying cause. Sciatica symptoms are commonly treated with self-care and medical management. Medical treatments commonly include pain-relieving medications, guided physical therapy, exercise programs, and/or epidural steroid injections.
Common causes of knee pain
Many knee problems other than sciatica are a result of the aging process and continual wear and stress on the joints. Other knee problems are a result of an injury or a sudden movement that strains the knee. Common causes of knee pain include:
Sprained or strained knee ligaments and/or muscles
A sprained or strained knee ligament or muscle is usually caused by a blow to the knee or a sudden twist of the knee. Symptoms often include pain, swelling, and difficulty in walking.
Trauma to the knee can tear the menisci which are pads of connective tissues for support. Cartilage tears can often occur with sprains and injuries. Treatment may involve wearing braces during an activity to protect the knee from further injury.
Inflammation of the tendons may result from overuse of a tendon during activities like running, jumping, and the like. Tendonitis of the patellar tendon is called jumper’s knee. This often occurs with sports (for example, basketball) where the force of hitting the ground after a jump strains the tendon and causes injury.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that affects the knee/knees. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative process where the cartilage wears and tears. It often affects middle-aged and older people. Osteoarthritis may be caused by excess stress on the joint as well.
Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the knees by causing the joint to become inflamed and this damages knee cartilage.
How long does sciatica-related knee pain last?
Typically as long as sciatica itself. But if knee pain due to sciatica is ignored then it can cause permanent damage to joints because of continuous stress.
That’s why it is important to discuss your knee pain with your doctor so that it can be treated alongside.
Sciatica knee pain relief
Sciatica knee pain treatment depends upon your specific condition. That’s why it’s vital to visit your doctor and discuss all the possible treatment options. You can then decide what suits you the best.
This includes the use of painkillers, NSAIDs, and corticosteroids (in some cases). These painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce stiffness and pain. However, the pain returns after a few hours because the underlying cause remains untreated.
The use of braces and following home remedies alongside is a good idea to relieve your knee pain caused by sciatica.
The last resort is a surgical procedure that helps release the compressed sciatic nerve but you can avoid surgery by following a good treatment option along with remedies. Or you can opt for alternative treatment options. All possible treatments are discussed below.
Sciatica knee pain exercises
This simple nerve flossing exercise aims at the lower buttock and upper thigh area including the knee.
Step 1: Lie on your back with your legs bent and your lying feet flat.
Step 2: Bring one knee to the chest while keeping the other foot flat on the floor.
Step 3: Keeping the lower back pressed to the floor, hold for up to 30 secs.
Step 4: Repeat on the other side as well.
Pelvic Tilt Exercise
This is another simple exercise that is good for sciatica and knee pain.
Step 1: Lie on your back with your legs bent and arms by your side.
Step 2: Tighten your stomach muscles so that your back is pressed on the floor, and rock the hips and pelvis slightly upward.
Step 3: Hold this position while imagining making your belly button touch your backbone. Don’t forget to breathe.
Step 4: Release after a few seconds. Then repeat
Home remedies for nerve pain in the knee
- Apply a cold compress for 20 minutes three to four times a day
- Keep away from stressful work
- Don’t bend your knee much
- Massage with essential oils. The best type of massage for sciatica pain can be done by professionals that reduce pain effectively.
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Knee brace for sciatica pain
The two most common back braces for sciatica are decompression braces and sacroiliac (SI) belts. These types of braces are helpful to people who are active and people who have to sit for prolonged durations.
Sciatica knee pain relief by BioFlex Pakistan
For the best alternative knee pain treatment, you can opt for BioFlex Pakistan laser therapy which is a non-invasive, painless, and non-toxic procedure that aids in relieving knee pain.
BioFlex Pakistan laser therapy makes use of low-intensity light diodes which offer accelerated healing, reduced inflammation, and complete elimination of pain. BioFlex laser therapy is FDA certified, it is guaranteed to be safe and effective. It does not pose any damaging effect on the tissues and promotes rapid healing through the activation of cells.
Laser treatment for sciatica nerve pain promotes angiogenesis, promotes the removal of dead cells, and accelerates healing through various physiological reactions.
Sciatica treatment with laser proves to be a miraculous method for relieving back and knee pain. BioFlex laser therapy offers sciatica treatment in Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and Rawalpindi where you can book your appointments through the toll-free number, or request a call back from the booking form below and get a consultation through the healthcare professionals.
Know more about laser pain treatment for knee pain to make the best decision for yourself or your loved one.