Sciatica

describes symptoms of buttock, leg or foot pain, numbness, tingling or weakness that results from an irritated or compressed sciatic nerve.  The symptoms of sciatica can be caused by irritation of the nerves from mechanical compression from bulging/herniated discs, or bone spurs in the low back.  Symptoms of sciatica are usually felt in one leg, but do on occasion present in both legs.  The sciatic nerve is comprised of 5 spinal nerves (L4, L5, S1, S2, and S3).  It extends from the low back down to the foot.  It is the largest and widest nerve in the human body.

The symptoms

may be described as dull, sharp, burning, aching or stabbing.  It may worsen from sitting for an extended period or from walking, bending, or even sneezing.  If sciatica is allowed to progress without treatment, a patient may be at risk for muscular weakness and a loss of leg function.  Treatment for sciatica depends on the underlying reason for the nerve irritation. Typically, conservative methods for treating sciatica are successful. Treatment may include anti-inflammatory medication, stretches and exercise, ice and heat therapy.  If nonsurgical treatment does not relieve symptoms after several months; surgery may be indicated.