Is There a Connection between Sciatica and Diabetes?
It’s easy to think that Diabetes is connected to Sciatic because they can induce similar symptoms. It’s common to confuse one condition for the other. These conditions, however, do have distinct differences. In short, diabetes doesn’t cause Sciatica; however, it does cause Diabetic Neuropathy. Sciatica can mimic symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy, but apart from similar symptoms, they are not connected.
How can Sciatica Mimic Diabetic Neuropathy
Both Sciatic and Diabetic Neuropathy cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the legs and feet. They both impact the strength and balance of the body. However, the cause of the pain, the location, and how the pain begins is distinct.
Diabetes is a condition that develops when the body doesn’t properly regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. When blood sugar remains high for an extended period, it leads to nerve damage throughout the body. The nerve damage in the leg and feet area mimics the pain from Sciatica. Unlike Diabetic Neuropathy that can damage nerves throughout the body, Sciatica is contained to the legs and feet and is often only felt on one side of the body.
The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the body. It originates in the sacral plexus, a network of nerves in the lower back called the lumbosacral spine. The lumbosacral spine refers to the lumbar spine and the sacrum combined. The sciatic nerve and its nerve branches enable movement and feeling in the thigh, knee, calf, ankle, foot, and toes.
When there is damage to the sciatic nerve, it can cause pain in an area of the sciatica nerve. While the pain can feel like a result of Diabetic Neuropathy, damage to the sciatic nerve is a separate condition with different symptoms. The three common causes of Sciatica nerve include bone spurs, spinal stenosis, and herniated discs, not diabetes.
Sciatica and Diabetic Neuropathy Differences
We know that the pain felt from both these conditions is similar, but have distinct differences, including the following:
- Sciatica pain comes suddenly, not gradually, as seen in Diabetic Neuropathy.
- Sciatica pain is contained to the area of the sciatic nerve.
- Sciatica pain is usually worse in the morning, but Diabetic Neuropathy pain doesn’t vary by time of day.
- Sciatica pain starts in the lower back area and travels down, while Diabetic Neuropathy pain begins in the toes and legs.
Despite the apparent similarities between Diabetic Neuropathy, they are two separate and different conditions. Each condition is caused by a different reason and requires different treatments. Visit your doctor to determine which of the two conditions you have.
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