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Common Question of Sciatica ?

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

Sciatica doesn't have symptoms. It is a symptom itself, consisting of pain, burning, tingling or electric shock-like feelings in the path of the sciatic nerve. It usually results from injury to the fibers that make up the sciatic nerve.

How do I know if I have sciatica?

If you feel pain, weakness and/or changes in sensation (tingling, jolts, hot and cold, numbness) along the anatomical path the sciatic nerve travels, or numbness or weakness in the skin and/or muscles that the nerve’s fibers serve, then you are suffering from sciatica.

Unpleasant feelings along the following routes constitute sciatica: down the back of the leg... back of the knee
  • from the mid-buttock down the back of the leg to the knee
  • and/or the outside of the calf and top of the foot, ending in the space between the last two toes
  • inside the calf, behind the inner ankle to the sole of the foot
  • lower back pain may also be present.

I think I have sciatica. Should I see my doctor?

Rational treatment requires a diagnosis. The proper physician will determine the cause of your sciatica, and begin the treatment most likely to help you.

Why do people get sciatica?

Sciatica arises from injury to the fibers of the sciatic nerve. The injury can occur in one of four places:
  • Inside the spinal canal (cauda equina)
  • Where bundles of sciatic nerve fibers pass through bony openings in the spine (neuroforamina)
  • In the pelvis (lumbrosacral plexus)
  • Where the sciatic nerve exits the pelvis, below the piriformis muscle in the buttock (Piriformis Syndrome), or along the leg.

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What are the main causes of sciatica?

  • Herniated or slipped disc (herniated nucleus pulposus). This is by far the most common cause of sciatica
  • Pressure by the piriformis muscle in the buttock on the sciatic nerve. (Piriformis Syndrome)
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on or pinches the fibers that make up the sciatic nerve
  • Slippage of one vertebra so that it is out of line with those above or beneath it (spondylolisthesis)
  • Abnormality of the nervous system itself, so that nerve fibers don’t transmit signals properly, especially to feet and calves (neuropathy)
  • Tumor (this is rare)

Misalignment of the bones in the lower back and buttocks (Sacroiliac Joint Derangement) often causes lower back pain, but extremely rarely causes neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling, weakness, or sciatica.

What are the most common treatments for sciatica?

Taking over-the-counter painkillers, Physical Therapy, rest, exercise and positioning such as Yoga, Alexander Technique and Feldenkreis, spinal manipulation, injections of anaesthetics, steroids or Botulinum toxins, surgery.
  • Acupuncture and Yoga can also be effective
  • Changing environmental factors: bed, chair, desk height, etc.
  • "Mind over matter" techniques

Will I always have sciatica, or can I be cured?

With proper diagnosis the cause of most sciatica can be identified and the condition can be cured or greatly alleviated . Communication and cooperation between professional and patient are crucial.
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This information is not designed to replace a physician's independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient.
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