Sciatica is a type of pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and down each leg. The condition typically affects only one side of the body.
A herniated disc, bone spur on the spine, or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the nerve and may lead to sciatica. The condition is characterized by inflammation, pain, and often some numbness in the affected leg.
Sciatica is characterized by pain that radiates from the lower (lumbar) spine to the buttock and down the back of the leg. Patients may feel discomfort along the nerve pathway, but are likely to feel pain that follows a path from their low back to the buttock and the back of the thigh and calf.
Pain can range from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating pain. The pain can sometimes feel like a jolt or electric shock and worsen with coughing or sneezing, and prolonged sitting.
Other symptoms of sciatica include numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. Patients may have pain in one part of their leg and numbness in another part.
Sciatica may be caused by:
Risk factors for sciatica include:
At Westcare Clinics, patients experiencing sciatica may require a treatment plan that includes pain management techniques, joint and soft tissue injections, and occupational medicine. The right approach to treatment will depend on the patient’s pain level and overall physical condition.
Treatment for sciatica may incorporate pain management techniques, such as cold and heat therapy, gentle exercise, mind-body techniques, physical therapy, biofeedback, music therapy, therapeutic massage, and occupational therapy to help manage their symptoms. Each patient will receive personalized recommendations from their doctor for managing sciatica pain.