What is Sciatica?
Sciatica affects many people and is a symptom, not a medical condition on its own. It refers to the pain, weakness, numbness or tingling in the leg. It can be caused by injury to or pressure on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in the body traveling from your lower back through your hip and buttock all the way down your leg where it divides into two branches at the knee.
Sciatica is usually felt in only one leg at a time. It can feel like an electric shock and range from a mild ache to severe pain. Some common symptoms of sciatica include:
- Pain in the buttocks or leg that is worse when sitting
- Burning or tingling down the leg
- Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
- A constant pain on one side of the buttock
- A shooting pain that may make it difficult to stand up
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica is caused by an irritation of the sciatic nerve. Common causes of sciatica may include:
- A herniated disc
- Bone growths
- Degenerative disc disease –the breakdown of discs which act as cushions between the vertebrae
- Spondylolisthesis—a condition in which one vertebrae slips forward over another one
- Lumbar spinal stenosis—the narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back
Treatment for Sciatica
Sciatica treatment will focus on relieving any pressure, pain and inflammation. Since sciatica is a symptom of another medical condition, that condition should also be identified and treated. Your doctor may recommend the following treatment options for your sciatica:
- Ice or heat to the painful and inflamed area
- Pain relievers for pain and inflammation
- Injections to reduce inflammation around the nerve
- Physical therapy to help prevent further episodes of sciatica
Sciatica can be extremely painful. If you have sciatica, consult your doctor to find various treatment options to find relief today.