Sciatica is a radiating pain along the pathway of the sciatic nerve. This pain starts at the lower back and branches out to the hips and buttocks, and down the leg. Sciatica consists of leg pain, which might feel like a bad cramp, or it can be more excruciating, making standing or sitting almost unbearable. Sciatica can occur at random, or it can develop slowly, making it harder to diagnose. You might also feel weakness, numbness, burning or tingling. It is often described as a “pins and needles” sensation down the leg. Symptoms that aren’t as common might include the inability to bend the knee, or move your foot. Typically, sciatica only effects one side of the body.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica is caused by a pinched nerve, most often due to a herniated disc in your spine or because of a bone spur on your vertebrae.
Symptoms of Sciatica:
- Pain that radiates from the lower back to your buttock and down the back of your leg
- Pain in the buttocks and/or leg that worsens when
- Burning and/or tingling down the leg
- Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
- A constant pain on one side of the buttocks
- A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up
Sciatic pain can be mild to excruciating. Symptoms that may constitute a medical emergency include: progressive weakness in the legs and/or bladder/bowel changes including incontinence.
Nerve pain is caused by a mixture of pressure and inflammation on the nerve root. Treatment is focused on relieving both of these conditions.