Sciatica (irritation of the nerves down again)

Lower Back | Orthopaedics | Sciatica (irritation of the nerves down again) (Disease)


Sciatica is the pain in the lower back and hip radiating down the back of the thigh into the leg. The pain usually increases with flexion at the hip. Patients also experience numbness and occasionally weakness in the leg. The disorder was initially thought to be cause by irritation of the sciatic nerve, but now is felt to be secondary to a herniated lumbar disk compressing a nerve root, most commonly the L5 or S1 root.

Causes and Risk factors

Sciatica is a set of symptoms including pain that may be caused by general compression or irritation of one of five spinal nerve roots that give rise to each sciatic nerve, or by compression or irritation of the left or right or both sciatic nerves. The pain is felt in the lower back, buttock, or various parts of the leg and foot. In addition to pain, which is sometimes severe, there may be numbness, muscular weakness, pins and needles or tingling and difficulty in moving or controlling the leg.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Non-surgical sciatica treatments encompass a broad range of options, with the goal of relieving pain caused by compressed nerve roots. One or some combination of the treatments below are usually recommended in conjunction with a specific exercise program.

The usual sciatic treatment programs first line of therapy consists of non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen, or even stronger drugs such as Vicodin or Oxycontin. The problem with this method of treatment is that one is truly only masking the pain and not getting to the origin.


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