BPS 6: Sciatica Nerve Pain — What are the Symptoms and Treatment?

Sciatica is a term that is used for leg pain that originates at the lumbar (lower back). In addition, to leg pain, the individual also experiences a numbness and tingling sensation in the area. The pain seems to travel through the buttocks down towards the large sciatic nerve. This nerve is located at the back of each leg.

Keep in mind that sciatica is not a medical condition. Instead, it’s a symptom of a lower back problem. Common lower back problems that can result in sciatic nerve pain include spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease, lumbar herniated disc and spinal stenosis.

About the Sciatic Nerve Pain

The sciatic nerve is the largest and the longest nerve in the body. It extends from the lumbosacral plexus and runs through the buttocks and extends into the thigs. The nerve delivers signals to muscles of the things and the lower legs.

The nerve branch out from the spine and then combine to form the sciatic nerve. When this nerve is compressed or irritated near the point of origin, the individual feels symptoms of sciatica.

Sciatica generally occurs in the middle age. It’s more common among people in the 40s and 50s. It rarely occurs before the age of 20. There are various estimates of the prevalence of the condition but it’s estimated to affect around 43 percent of the population.

Symptoms of Sciatic Nerve Pain

Pain in the case of sciatica differs from and depend on the exact location of the pinched nerve. The pain ranges from a minor irritation to a continuous incapacitating pain. Some of the common symptoms of a sciatica pain include the following.

  • -A sharp pain that causes difficulty when walking
  • -Continuous pain on one side of the leg or buttock
  • -Numbness, weakness, and difficulty in moving the foot, leg, or toes
  • -Pain that worsens when in a sitting position
  • -Bowel or bladder dysfunction

Although the symptoms of sciatica can be excruciating, the problem rarely causes permanent damage to the sciatic nerve. Spinal cord damage is also rare in case of sciatica.

Treatment of Sciatic Nerve Pain

Most of the symptoms subside over time. However, in some cases, immediate medical help, and possibly surgical intervention is required.

The treatment of sciatica depends on the underlying medical condition. It is focused on addressing the underlying cause instead of just treating the symptoms. Non surgical treatment for sciatica includes the following.

  • -Heat Ice
  • -Pain medications
  • -Physical therapy
  • -Activity modification
  • -Injections
  • -Acupuncture
  • -Massage Therapy

An ergonomic assessment of the workplace condition may also be helpful in treating sciatica. The doctor may recommend a modification in a workplace setting to prevent sciatic nerve problems.

Usually, sciatica is not caused by a specific injury or accident. Instead, the condition develops over time. In most of the cases, persons suffering from sciatica get better through nonsurgical treatment. It’s advisable to consult with a medical professional to address sciatica pain. This is important to not only relieve pain, but also rule out the possibility of a serious medical condition such as spinal tumor or infection.



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Robin BackPainExpert

Physiotherapists & Back Pain Expert

Twenty years ago I was lucky to survive a serious hockey injury. In a sport where big men zoomaround on hard ice and solid wood sticks are slung furiously, a difficult back injury is what every player fears.
It took a long time for me to climb back to a normal life. But when I did, I was determined to spend the rest of his life helping back pain victims everywhere.
As a physiotherapist and back pain expert I have treated thousands of patients over 20 years, built a respected back pain clinic, created the site BackPainSecrets.Com and authored the book “Back Pain Secrets.”
Learn more about me here.