If you suddenly feel pain in your lower back or hip that radiates to the back of your thigh and into your leg you may be experiencing sciatica pain. The term sciatica describes this symptom of leg pain and is a symptom of an underlying medical condition linked to the spine. OPTIMAL Pain & Regenerative Medicine® discusses sciatica symptoms with patients living in the Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas area.

What You Need to Know About Sciatica

Sciatica pain is not a medical diagnosis. It is a symptom of an underlying medical condition such as spinal stenosis, a herniated disc or spondylolisthesis. The term sciatica describes the symptom of leg pain that is characterized by a tingling, numb or weak sensation that originates in the lower back and travels through the buttock and down the sciatic nerve into the leg.

Sciatica pain may feel like a bad leg cramp or may be excruciating or shooting pain that makes sitting or standing difficult. Other sciatica symptoms include:

  • Constant pain in only one side of the buttock or leg
  • Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • Pain made worse after a sneeze or cough

Sciatica symptoms can occur suddenly or appear gradually. The symptoms may be short-lived or may last for weeks.

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What You Need to Know About Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica symptoms occur when the large sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated in the lumbar spine. This nerve runs from the lower back, through the buttock and down the back of each leg. The specific symptoms of sciatica depend largely on where the nerve is pinched.

Sciatica pain symptoms may occur as a result of these conditions:

  • A herniated disc that causes pressure on a nerve root. This is the most common cause of sciatica.
  • Spinal stenosis which is a narrowing of the spinal canal that leads to pressure on the nerves.
  • Spondylolisthesis which is a slippage of one vertebra so it is out of line. This leads to narrowing and pressure on the nerves.
  • Piriformis syndrome that develops when the small muscles deep in the buttocks, piriformis, become tight or spasm which leads to pressure on the nerve.

An individual is more likely to experience sciatica pain symptoms between the ages of 30-50 years. The treatment for sciatica involves rest, physical therapy and the use of medications or treatments to decrease pain and increase mobility.

OPTIMAL Pain & Regenerative Medicine® is available to answer any questions about sciatica and sciatica symptoms. Please feel free to contact a member of our team if you would like more information on this symptom.