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Sciatica: Sciatic Nerve Irritation

Sciatica: Sciatic Nerve Irritation
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lower back pain

Sciatica is characterized by a sharp pain in the lower back that is caused by irritation to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a long nerve beginning at the tailbone and running down the back of both legs. Sciatica is a very common condition, affection many individuals in their 40’s and 50’s. It is found more often in men than women.

What Causes Sciatica?

  • Spinal disc herniation
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Pregnancy
  • Spinal tumors
  • Trauma to the spine
  • Obesity

Types of Sciatica

There is only one type of sciatica.

Sciatica Symptoms

  • Lower back pain
  • Pain in the buttocks when sitting
  • Pain in one or both legs
  • Hip pain
  • Burning or tingling in one or both legs
  • Weakness or numbness in one or both legs
  • Difficulty moving the legs or feet
  • Pain in the lower back or buttocks upon standing

sciatic nerve damage

Diagnosing Sciatica

Sciatica can be diagnosed by your primary care physician through a physical examination. They will likely have you perform certain physical maneuvers, such as a straight leg raise, to see if it produces any symptoms of sciatica. They may order diagnostic testing, such as a CT or MRI scan of the lumbar spine to rule out more serious conditions like spinal tumors.

Treating Sciatica

Medications and physical therapy can help relieve some of the pain caused by sciatica. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to treat the underlying cause of the sciatica. This can include a decompressive laminectomy for spinal stenosis or removal of a spinal tumor to relieve compression of the sciatic nerve.

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