Difference Between Lower Back Pain And Sciatica

If you’re suffering from back pain, you must know the difference between lower back pain and sciatica. Otherwise, it can be difficult to determine whether it’s lower back pain or sciatica.

What Will I learn

Understanding the difference between these two conditions is important so you can get the right treatment for your symptoms.

Difference Between Lower Back Pain And Sciatica

One condition that is often confused with lower back pain is sciatica. Sciatica is an issue caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Lower back pain stems from strain placed on muscle and ligament tissues in your back. At the same time, sciatica is caused when the sciatic nerve gets compressed. They may be compressed due to a herniated disc or injury to the spine.

Lower back pain comes with soreness or stiffness, while sciatica can cause pain in the lower back. It starts with radiating sensations, such as numbness and tingling, that run down to the leg.

Both conditions can be treated with physical therapy and medications. For sciatica, it’s important to reduce pressure on the nerve. It can be done by using special exercises and stretching techniques.

Always do the exercises prescribed by a healthcare professional. It’s also important to make lifestyle changes like avoiding high-impact activities or sitting for too long. These can exacerbate symptoms.

Lower Back Pain

A strange twist of the spine can cause lower back pain. It can vary from minor to severe lower back pain. It can affect people of any age. It is more common in people with more age.

Lower back pain can get worse by lifting any heavy object. A strained muscle, excessive exercise, or another injury can affect the lower back. These can get better within a few weeks.

back pain - Difference Between Lower Back Pain And Sciatica

Lower back pain is divided into different levels according to its minor to severe types of pain. Ignoring the pain at the start can cause severe lower back pain.

Acute lower back pain can last for 4 – 6 weeks. It will be a very initial stage of lower back pain. It can be caused by any initial causes like lifting heavy objects or due to any strained muscle.

Chronic lower back pain can not get better without any medication. You have to take medication for this type of lower back pain. It is the more severe type of pain.

People with chronic lower back pain feel more pain in the lower back, which can go to the legs.

Causes Of Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is an incredibly common ailment. It is impacting a huge percentage of the population. Understanding the causes of lower back pain can help to take steps to prevent and treat it.

Some potential causes of lower back pain include:

1. Muscle Fatigue:

Walking for a long period without rest can cause the enervate muscle in the lower back to. It creates a feeling of discomfort.

This pain can improve by resting the back by sitting or lying down for some time. I have observed in some cases that people with more weight than normal experience this pain more.

2. Strain Or Injury:

The human body is made up of many connected bones. Any injury in the spine causes lower back pain. This cause is usually due to overuse, such as lifting heavy objects or playing sports without proper form.

I have observed patients that have a slipped disc in their spine. It is because they pick up a heavy object.

Trying to pick up any heavy object inserts a lot of pressure on the spine. This pressure causes lower back pain in most people.

In this case, I advised the patient to rest and avoid lifting heavy objects. The spine is an imitable part of the body. It needs extra care.

3. Poor Posture:

Many people experience lower back pain because of poor posture position. The major reason is that people don’t know how to sit in a proper way. It causes many problems with joints and legs.

Another reason is sitting for long hours. People who work in offices they undergo from lower back pain. It is because sitting for a long time reduces the blood flow in the body.

People should exercise a little or stretch their bodies to make the blood flow better in the body.

4. Arthritis:

Arthritis causes lower back pain while bending over. This condition can be seen in people over the age of 55 years. People with arthritis may also suffer from osteoarthritis and arthritis.

In our body, our joints are secured by cartilage. When this cartilage weakens, bones start to rub with each other. It causes pain in the lower back.

5. Weak Abdominal Muscles:

Weak abs can lead to poor core support and thus create imbalances in how the body distributes its weight. This leads to soreness in the lower back area.

Your back needs strong and flexible muscles and tissues to support your weight. They help to keep balance in the body.


Sciatica is a pain that radiates from the lower back and travels down through one or both legs. It’s caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. This irritation can happen due to a herniated disc pressing on the nerve root.

Symptoms can range from a dull ache to sharp shooting pains and numbness in your leg or foot. You may experience pain only on one side of your body.

sciatica - Difference Between Lower Back Pain And Sciatica

This pain can worsen with certain activities. Activities like sitting inappropriately, sneezing, coughing, or bending forward at the waist.

To diagnose sciatica, your doctor will first perform an examination. They may order imaging tests such as an MRI scan to check if any problems with your spine could be causing the pain.

Causes Of Sciatica

Sciatica causes a lot of pain in the lower back, buttocks, and legs due to sciatic nerve compression. You should know the basic causes so that you can avoid them to live pain-free.

The following are the most common causes of Sciatica;

1. Muscle Fatigue:

Walking for a long period without rest can cause the enervate muscle in the lower back to. It creates a feeling of discomfort.

This pain can improve by resting the back by sitting or lying down for some time. I have observed in some cases that people with more weight than normal experience this pain more.

2. Herniated Disc:

A herniated disc happens when its soft middle point impulses through a gap in the tougher outer. There are many discs around the spine in our back. . These discs act as shockwave absorbers.

Shockwave absorbers help to stable the back. The herniated disc removes from its place. This replacement inserts some extra pressure on the nerves around it.

When someone suffers from a herniated disc, they’ll experience weakness in one leg or both.

3. Spinal Stenosis:

Spinal stenosis is an unusual shrinking of the spinal canal. This shrink inserts the pressure on the spinal cord. It causes pain in the lower back as well.

I have noticed that some patients show no symptoms, and some show rapid pain. You might feel shooting pain in your legs. It will make it difficult to walk far.

4. Degenerative Disk Disease:

The degenerative disk disease causes stiffness and pain while walking or standing. This disease can be more commonly seen in people of more ages.

As a person ages, the spine’s disk starts to shrink. This results in irritation between the bones in the spine. It causes lower back pain while walking.

Risk Factors That Cause Lower Back Pain & Sciatica

Certain factors are the main cause of lower back pain and sciatica. I have noticed the following factors in many patients which result in pain and stress in the body.

The risk factors include:

1. Age:

As you start getting older, the lower back pain gets worse. People of more ages face this problem more often.

You should maintain a proper exercise and diet routine. In that way, you can keep your body healthy and fit.

2. Smoking:

Smoking is another adding factor to lower back pain. Smoking increases the risk of lower back pain.

It stimulates coughing and decreases blood flow in your body. It causes other serious medical conditions.

3. Lack Of Exercise:

People who do less exercise have a higher chance of lower back pain. Less exercise makes muscles weak.

Adopt different exercises that can strengthen your body. Exercise can make your muscles work in a more effective manner without any pain.

4. Inappropriate Object Lifting:

Some people suffer lower back pain due to improper object lifting. Picking objects by bending put pressure on your back.

It can also damage your spine. It puts pressure on and causes severe lower back pain.

Tips To Avoid Lower Back Pain & Sciatica

Everyone should follow these tips to reduce pain and live stress-free lives. Improve your quality of life and enjoy your everyday routine to its fullest.

These tips also help to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

1. Healthy Diet:

Adopt a healthy diet in your life.  Consumption of healthy food reduces the chance of stress on your body. Unhealthy food increases the chances of back problems.

Try to avoid the increased intake of alcohol and large meals.

2. Exercise:

Exercise on daily bases reduces the chance of lower back pain. Exercise keeps the muscles and bones active. It helps the blood to flow properly in the body. 

exercise - Difference Between Lower Back Pain And Sciatica

Through exercise, you can lose weight, which is a major cause of lower back pain.

3. Sustain Proper Posture:

People who spend long hours on a computer while working face lower back pain more often. Those people should correct their sitting positions. They should buy a comfortable chair which supports their back.

They should practice stretching exercises while sitting. They should take a rest after some work.

4. Quit Smoking:

Smoking can cause severe lower back pain. It increases the risk of less oxygen because it narrows the blood vessels. It reduces the blood flow in the body.

Blood flow should be fluent so that it can circulate in the body. Proper blood flow also prevent other unstable medical conditions.

5. Try To Sleep Sideways:

Sleeping flat on our back cause lower back pain. It puts pressure on the lower back. Try to sleep on your sides one by one.

Place a pillow under your lower abdomen; it helps in preventing pressure on lower back pain.

6. Reduce Stress:

Having stress can also cause pressure on muscles. It puts strain on muscles in the body. Adopt relaxing exercises like yoga, deep breathing, or exercise that can reduce stress.

Stress reduction is necessary for the relief of any pain in your body. Relaxation of muscles is important in pain reduction.

7. Get A Heat Or Cold Massage:

Heat and cold therapy are effective remedies for pain relief. This massage helps a lot in reducing lower back pain. Follow a proper order recommended by your physician according to your condition.

It can be used with other methods to have the best results. Both of these therapies work in different manners.

8. Try Acupuncture:

The acupuncture is a Chinese practice that is an exercise to reduce lower back pain. Some tiny needles are inserted into the patient’s body during this process.  It restores blood flow in the body.

Better blood flow makes the muscles and body work effectively.


If left untreated, lower back pain and sciatica can become chronic conditions. Taking care of your spine and body now can help reduce symptoms in the future and prevent further damage.

Knowing the difference between lower back pain and sciatica gives you a better chance of treating your condition. This will help you to get back to living life without discomfort.

Treatment options can include over-the-counter medications, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery.

Suppose you suspect that you may be suffering from sciatica. In that case, it’s important to talk to your doctor so they can properly diagnose the issue. Then they will recommend the best course of action for your situation.

Terry Chimes

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