What is sciatica?
Sciatica is described as pain, initially in the lower back, that begins radiating down the leg. While it is a relatively common condition, it can be confusing to understand. Sciatica is not a specific medical condition. The term is actually used to describe symptoms caused by other problems. The name comes from the sciatic nerve
, when this nerve is compressed, the symptoms of Sciatica appear. It is important that you see a professional when you experience symptoms of sciatica. There are more serious problems that the symptoms may be pointing to and early diagnosis and treatment of the underlying cause is crucial.
As the longest and thickest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve runs from the lower back, passed the buttock, and down the leg. The muscles of the foot and leg are provided feeling by the nerve. When this nerve is compressed by an injury or illness, it causes the symptoms of sciatica. Those suffering from sciatica report feelings of pain, tingling, or burning in the buttock and leg. Generally sciatica appears on one side of the body but not both. The severity of these feelings are varies depending on the severity of the injury. The location of nerve compression can also affect the experienced pain or discomfort. The pain or discomfort can be mild to extremely intense. Sciatica can cause walking and sitting to be difficult.
Sciatica is more prominent when certain situations are present. During pregnancy, hormone changes can alter the structure of the body enough to cause nerve malfunction and increase the risk of sciatica. Muscle strain and the inflammation caused by it can also be a cause. While it is very rare, spinal tumors may be present that cause pressure. Trauma in the lower back can also be caused by infection which heightens sciatica risk.