The following describes the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of sciatica. For specific information regarding your health and treatment options, please contact your Hurley
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a numbness, tingling, or pain in the lower back, buttocks, or legs due to irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body extending from the pelvis down through the leg. Sciatica is more likely to occur in adults between the ages of 30 and 50.
What causes sciatica?
Sciatica is caused by anything that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. Herniated discs are a common source of sciatica, but it can also be caused by pregnancy, tumors, spinal conditions, nerve disorders, or sitting in an awkward position.
What are the symptoms of sciatica?
Symptoms of sciatica vary widely, but may include:
- Mild tingling, numbness, or pain in the affected leg, often radiating to the hip or foot
- Increased pain at night or when coughing, sneezing, or laughing
- Increased pain after prolonged periods of standing, sitting, or walking
- Severe pain that limits physical ability
- Weakness in the affected leg
How is sciatica diagnosed?
Your Hurley physician will conduct a complete physical exam with medical history and may order x-rays or MRIs to rule out other causes of your symptoms.
How is sciatica treated?
Initial treatment recommendations for sciatica include rest and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help reduce your pain. Applying heat or ice to the affected area and sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees may provide some relief. Your physician may also recommend physical therapy, injections to reduce swelling around the nerve, or other medications to manage your pain.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct a disc herniation or other condition causing your sciatica. Sciatica typically goes away on its own when the underlying cause of it is corrected.