Sciatica

Introduction

Sciatica is a relatively common form of back pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs from the lower spine through the buttock and back of the thigh and down to the foot, connecting the spinal cord with the leg and foot muscles. Sciatica may affect only one side of the body or may be bilateral, radiating from the lower back down through the buttock and down the leg. The leg pain is often worse than the pain in the back. Depending on which part of the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may also extend into the foot or toes.  While sciatica can be very painful, it is rare that permanent nerve damage will result. The majority of the pain results from inflammation and most cases of sciatica will get better within a few months.

The most common causes of sciatica are usually pressure on the sciatic nerve from a herniated disc, neuroforaminal stenosis, spinal stenosis, which results in lumbar radiculopathy.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the buttocks or leg that is worse when sitting
  • Burning, tingling, or numbness down the leg
  • Weakness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • Constant pain on one side of the buttocks
  • Shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up

Sciatica Treatments

Treatment and pain relief options for Sciatica includes:

  • Rest (for acute injury)
  • Heat or ice
  • Anti-inflammatory medications (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, etc.)
  • Prescription pain medications
  • Epidural Steroid Injections
  • TENS
  • Physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy
  • Surgery (if conservative treatment fails)