Sciatica is a symptom of another medical condition, and occurs when there is pressure or injury to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve, which starts in the spine and runs down the back of each leg, controls the muscles in the lower leg and the back of the knee, and provides sensation to the back of the thigh, part of the lower leg and the sole of the foot.
Sciatic pain can vary greatly, from mild tingling or a dull ache, to a sharp, burning sensation. The pain usually starts slowly, on one side, and often presents as a pain in the leg or hip, or numbness in other parts of the leg. In severe cases, it can hinder a person’s mobility. The pain often gets worse at night, after standing or sitting, when sneezing, coughing or laughing, or when bending backwards or walking more than a few yards. Common causes of sciatica include pelvic injury or fracture, a slipped disc, degenerative disk disease, piriformis syndrome, spinal stenosis, or tumors.
Because sciatica is a symptom of another medical condition, it is important to identify the underlying cause. In some cases, no treatment is needed; it will heal itself. Often, some simple tests can be performed in our office to determine the root cause and the needed treatment. In many cases, once the source of the sciatic nerve inflammation is determined and successfully treated, patients can expect full recovery.