How to Test the Sciatic Nerve

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How to Test the Sciatic Nerve....5

The sciatic nerve can cause an unending amount of pain if it develops problems. Learn how to test the sciatic nerve with help from a doctor in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Sciatic Nerve Pain
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. Robert Fenell with And today I'm going to show you how to test the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve stems from the lumbar spine. It comes out of the lower back area and it groups together into, a series of nerves grouped together into a bundle about the size of your thumb. In fact the sciatic nerve is the largest nerve going down into the leg. The sciatic nerve passes through some musculature in the hip area and it goes down the back of the leg the whole way to the foot. Classic symptoms of sciatica or pain in the sciatic nerve is a radicular pain or radiating pain down the back of the leg. And that pain can be very severe at times. To test the sciatic nerve we want to put a stretch on the sciatic nerve. Normally we can lift the leg the entire way off the table and there should be no pain. If a patient has a pinched sciatic nerve at the lumbar spine or up around that area of the hip you can aggravate that pain by putting a stretching force by raising the leg. So we shouldn't be able to lift that leg the entire way up if there's a problem. There are two primary tests we use to test the sciatic nerve for pinched sciatic nerve. The first one is called the straight leg raise test. The second one is called the Braggard's test. We only use the Braggard's test if we got a positive finding indicating a pinched nerve during the first straight leg raise test. Lets show you that straight leg raise test. We are going to simply lift the leg. If the person has a pinched nerve right about 30 to 40 degrees they are going to have a radiating pain down the back of the leg. Sometimes even the entire way to the foot. That's a positive indicator that there's a pinched sciatic nerve. If that's in fact present drop the foot just a couple of degrees where that pain point was and very quickly dorsiflex the foot. That's called the Braggard's test. That further tests for the pinched nerve and will also stimulate that same radiating pain to the foot. Of course these two tests are something you can do right in the comfort of your own home but make sure if you have problems like radiating pain into your leg or back pain always consult your chiropractor. Again I'm Dr. Robert Fenell with And thank you for watching my video on how to test the sciatic nerve.


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