Sciatic Nerve Pain

Sciatica is pain in the leg caused by irritation, inflammation, or compression of the sciatic nerve. There are two sciatic nerves, one in each leg, and they are the longest and thickest nerves in the body. Sciatica originates in the lower back, radiates deep into the buttock, and runs down the back of the leg to just below the knee. It typically affects only one leg at a time, but may affect both legs depending on where the nerve is pinched in the spinal column.

Sciatic Nerve Pain Symptoms

  • Sharp, shooting, burning, or stabbing leg pain
  • Pain that starts from the lower back and runs down to the back of the leg
  • Pins and needles in legs, feet, and toes
  • Leg pain usually more severe than lower back pain
  • Constant or intermittent low back and leg pain

Sciatic Nerve Pain Causes

  • Pressure on the sciatic nerve from herniated or slipped disk or bone spur
  • Slipped vertebra (spondylolisthesis)
  • Injury to the lower back
  • Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Strains and other lower back problems
  • Natural wearing out of disks in the spine (degenerative disk disease)
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis)
  • Weak back and abdominal muscles
  • Nerve damage from diabetes
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity

Sciatic Nerve Pain Treatment & Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief - When to See a Doctor

Sciatica often improves within a few weeks with rest. Persistent sciatica should be addressed by your doctor who may prescribe other medications, order physical therapy, or recommend further diagnosis and treatment by a specialist. Seek immediate medical attention if:

  • Your pain is from a serious accident, such as an automobile accident.
  • Your pain is severe or intolerable.
  • You experience sudden, severe pain in your lower back or leg.
  • You experience muscle weakness in your leg.
  • You experience loss of bowel or bladder control.