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"I have a dull and achy pain in my spine near my tail-bone, could this be sciatica?"
I am 24 years old and in good physical condition. However, I have had a continuous pain in my lower spine near my tail-bone for about three years. This pain seems to be somewhat relieved by twisting to crack my lower back. However, recently when I do this I get a tingling sensation that runs down my left leg and makes my left foot tingle and sometimes go numb. I have been to the doctor twice about this but he does not seem to think I have sciatica. What then, is causing this ongoing pain and how can I best treat it? Should I get a second opinion from a different doctor?
Nerve pain often gives a sensation of shooting pain or tingling, and comes from a nerve that has been trapped or impinged. Sciatica is a word often used to refer to shooting nerve pain in the legs can refer to pain that starts in the lower back (most commonly due to a herniated disk) or the buttocks (due to impingement of a nerve by a muscle lower down). You should talk to your doctor about one possible diagnosis in particular. A herniated disk is a very common cause of the symptoms you are describing, and although you are relatively young to have a herniated disk, it is very possible that you developed one with heavy physical exercise or strain. A herniated disk is when the "cushion" between your vertebrae pokes out into the spinal canal, very often pushing on nerve roots from your spinal cord and causing pain in the lower back as well as nerve pain in the legs. Treatment for a herniated disk can involve things like taking anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, injections in the area of the herniated disk, and, in rare cases, surgery. If twisting to crack your back provokes these symptoms, you should avoid doing so, unless advised otherwise by a physician. It is not possible to establish a firm diagnosis without evaluation by a doctor, and if your doctor does not give you a firm diagnosis, you should seek a second opinion.
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