KODE — You’ve probably heard of, or dealt with sciatica, but knowing the difference from hip pain and how to treat it can be tough to pin down.

“Sciatica is a term that refers to pain felt along the path of the sciatic nerve, which is the main nerve that supplies the leg. It can be irritated a variety of ways typically. And people will typically feel that pain in more of the buttock or gluteal region that radiates down the back of the leg,” said Dr. Thomas Sanders, Orthopedics.

The top cause is the irritation of those nerves coming from the spine itself.

“Most commonly, it’s coming from the back you can have arthritis or a bulging disc that irritates those nerves But if you have another joint problem, a hip problem or knee problem that can change the way you walk in such a way that it irritates that nerve enough to cause pain.”

Confirming the cause is key to feeling better.

“The main thing is finding that source of the pain and identifying it and then placing our treatments around that area,” added Dr. Sanders.

Which can vary.

“So generally the best treatments for sciatica are anti inflammatory medications, sometimes a steroid injection in the back can be very helpful.”

But before that, think prevention.

“Having strong abdominal muscles and lower back muscles helps support a healthy spine alignment which can help reduce the pain from sciatica,” said Dr. Sanders.