Sciatica (or its medical term Lumbar Radiculopathy) is a form of low back pain that continues on via the back of the legs, reaching the foot and ankles through the sciatic nerve. At the base of the spinal cord, the sciatic nerve branches out in the lower back, through the buttocks into each leg. Individuals experiencing sciatica would typically feel it only on one side of the body, left or right. The degree of pain may vary ranging from mild to sharp to excruciating.
Sciatica can be brought on as a result of many other back and spinal conditions. A herniated disc can result in pressure being applied to the nerve roots that are attached to the sciatic nerve. Spinal stenosis, arthritis, or pinched nerves can also contribute to the onset of sciatica. In extremely rare cases, pregnancy or tumors may contribute to the emergence of sciatica.
As the sciatic nerve traverses down the legs from the base of the spinal cord, the pain can originate around the buttocks and then radiate downwards through the leg. As the nerve roots attached to the sciatic nerve become compressed, individuals will experience pain as well as possibly numbness in one of the legs and some inflammation. Weakness of the leg is prone to occur. Individuals experiencing any or all of these symptoms are recommended not to engage in movement that involves the maneuvering of the spine (for example, exercises that involve knee-to-chest) as the pain, weakness of the leg, or numbness may get worse.
In some cases, individuals with sciatica may endure severe pain. However, most of the time, non-surgical treatments may be sufficient enough to resolve the issue in a matter of a few weeks. Individuals experiencing more severe cases of sciatica that causes leg weakness or changes to the bladder or bowel, may require surgical procedure.