What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is compression of the sciatic nerve that runs the length of your lower back (lumbar region), through the hips and buttocks, and down each leg. The condition is commonly caused by a herniated disk, abnormal bone growth (spur), or spinal stenosis (spinal compression due to a narrowing of the spine.)

Symptoms of Sciatica

Symptoms of sciatica are pretty much the same for most people, although you may feel one of more of the following:

  • Radiating pain in lower back (lumbar region)
  • Pain in buttocks or hip
  • Pain in leg (usually not both)
  • Discomfort anywhere along the path of the sciatic nerve
  • Numbness
  • Weakness

Causes of Sciatica

There are a few common reasons for sciatica, which is painful pressure applied to the sciatic nerve. Causes of this pressure may be:

  • The sciatic nerve becomes pinched
  • Herniated disc
  • Bone spur
  • Tumor
  • Damage to the sciatic nerve or surrounding area due to pre-existing diseases (ex. diabetes or arthritis)

Sciatica Treatments

Treating sciatica depends on the severity of the pain and the duration it lasts. The following are typical ways of management the pain:

  • OTC Medication. Ibuprofen or other over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Prescription Medication. Anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxers, narcotics and painkillers.
  • Physical therapy. Strengthening and flexibility exercises.
  • Steroid injections.
  • Surgery.
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