Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.
Sciatica is pain due to problems with your sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in your body. When the nerve gets pinched or damaged, it can cause pain along the nerve’s pathway, which begins in your lower back and travels down each leg. Sciatica can result from lifting something heavy, a sports injury, or being in an automobile accident.
It may occur after experiencing a ruptured intervertebral disc, narrowing of your spinal canal, a pelvic fracture, or a bone spur. Sometimes the cause of sciatica isn’t known. Factors that increase your risk of developing sciatica include obesity, older age, carrying heavy loads, diabetes, and prolonged sitting.
Sciatica symptoms vary from person to person. The pain may come and go or affect just one side of your body. If your discomfort is severe or long-lasting, see the Advanced Pain Management team for an evaluation. The following signs and symptoms may indicate you have sciatica:
To diagnose sciatica, Dr. Gupta reviews your medical history. He asks questions about your symptoms, completes a comprehensive physical exam, and may use X-rays, MRIs, or other imaging procedures to find the root cause of pain and establish the right treatment plan for you. Your personalized sciatica treatment plan might include: