Sciatica refers to pain, tingling, or numbness along the sciatic nerve, the longest and widest nerve in the body, which travels from the lower spine, through the pelvis, and down each leg.
Sciatica is a form of peripheral neuropathy that is most often a symptom of a herniated or bulging disc in the lumbar spine that results in pressure on the nerve, but may also be caused by the narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis), arthritis, bone spurs, piriformis syndrome, tumors or traumatic injury.
In general, the pain from sciatica starts in the lower back and radiates to the buttocks, legs, and into the soles of the feet on only on one side of the body; however, this may occur on both sides.
Other common sciatica symptoms include:
- Severe or shooting pain in one leg
- Pain that worsens when standing or sitting
- Weakness in one knee or leg
- Prickling or pins-and-needles sensation down the leg
- Tingling and numbness
- Bladder or bowel incontinence
The spine specialists at Lancaster Orthopedic Group are highly qualified to evaluate and treat spinal conditions like sciatica and its underlying causes. Conservative treatments, which are effective for most patients, include rest, exercises and stretching, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications.
Surgical intervention may be considered in severe cases.