Sciatica refers to pain that travels along the sciatic nerve path, from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and down each leg. Sciatica most often occurs when a herniated disc or an overgrowth of bone puts pressure on the part of the nerve. Causing inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.
Sciatica pain can vary from a mild ache to a sharp, burning pain. Sometimes it can feel like a jolt or electric shock. It can be worse when coughing, sneezing or sitting for a long time. Usually, sciatica affects only one side of the body.
Some people also experience numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the leg or foot. One part of the leg can be in pain, while another part can feel numb.
Please seek medical care for the following:
Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched. The cause is usually a herniated disc in the spine or an overgrowth of bone, sometimes called bone spurs, forming on the spinal bones. More rarely, a tumour can put pressure on the nerve.
During the physical exam, your doctor may check muscle strength and reflexes. For example, you may be asked to walk on your toes or heels, rise from a squatting position, and lift your legs one at a time while lying on your back. Pain from sciatica will usually worsen during these movements.
Those with severe pain or pain that does not improve within a few weeks may need the following:
Most cases of sciatica resolve on their own. Nonsurgical treatment options include:
Spine surgery is considered when sciatica causes severe weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, or pain that does not improve with other treatments.