Sciatica is a symptom of a problem with the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body. It controls muscles in the back of your knee and lower leg and provides feeling to the back of your thigh, part of your lower leg, and the sole of your foot. When you have sciatica, you have pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling. It can start in the lower back and extend down your leg to your calf, foot, or even your toes. It's usually on only one side of your body.

Causes of sciatica include

In many cases no cause can be found.

Sometimes sciatica goes away on its own. Treatment, if needed, depends on the cause of the problem. It may include exercises, medicines, and surgery.

Symptoms of Sciatica

The following features are indicative of Sciatica:
  • pain
  • discomfort
  • burning sensation
  • jolt like feeling
  • electric shock like feeling
  • numbness
  • muscle weakness
  • tingling

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Common Causes of Sciatica

The following are the most common causes of Sciatica:
  • bone spur
  • pinched sciatic nerve
  • sciatic nerve compressed by a tumor
  • sciatic nerve compressed due to a disease such as diabetes

Risk Factors for Sciatica

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Sciatica:
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • prolonged sitting
  • increasing age
  • carrying heavy loads
  • driving motor vehicles

Prevention of Sciatica

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Sciatica. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • exercise regularly
  • sitting in right posture
  • use good body mechanics

Occurrence of Sciatica

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Sciatica cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Sciatica most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Sciatica can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Sciatica

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Sciatica:
  • X-ray: To reveal an overgrowth of bone that may be pressing on a nerve
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): To produce detailed images of bone and soft tissues
  • CT scan: To produce an image of the spine
  • Electromyography (EMG): To measure the electrical impulses produced by the nerves and the responses of muscles

Doctor for Diagnosis of Sciatica

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Sciatica:
  • Orthopedic surgeon
  • Neurologist

Complications of Sciatica if untreated

Yes, Sciatica causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Sciatica is left untreated:
  • permanent nerve damage
  • loss of feeling in the affected leg
  • weakness in the affected leg
  • loss of bowel
  • loss of bladder function

Procedures for Treatment of Sciatica

The following procedures are used to treat Sciatica:
  • Physical therapy: To correct posture, strengthen the muscles supporting back and improve flexibility
  • Surgery: To remove the bone spur or the portion of the herniated disk that's pressing on the pinched nerve

Self-care for Sciatica

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Sciatica:
  • Apply cold packs: Helps providing relief
  • Apply hot packs: Helps providing relief
  • Do stretching exercises: Makes feel better and might help relieve nerve root compression

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Sciatica

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Sciatica:
  • Acupuncture: Helps providing relief from back pain
  • Chiropractic therapy: To treat restricted spinal mobility

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Sciatica.
Back Pain
Herniated Disk
Peripheral Neuropathy

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