Sciatica is shooting pain down the back of one or both of your legs—is generally caused by inflammation of your sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body (it’s about the width of your little finger). It runs along each side of your lumbar spine (low back) all the way down to your feet. Any type of pressure or pinching on this nerve can cause sciatica, inflammation, and other symptoms.

Symptoms of sciatic nerve pain

Symptoms of sciatic nerve pain can vary: they can be intermittent aching to sever constant pain and can include pins and needles, tingling, numbness, cramping and muscle weakness.

Pain is most commonly felt in the lower back, hip and buttock are and can sometimes also be felt in the calf and back of thigh.

Symptoms are made worse by bending, sitting, coughing, sneezing or going to the toilet.

Causes of Sciatica

There are many different causes and getting an accurate diagnosis is important for receiving the right treatment plan in order to recover as soon as possible.

Herniated or bulging disc – when part of the disc compresses the nerve as it exits the spine

Muscle tightness – the piriformis muscle which is in the buttock area can spasm and cause irritation to the sciatic nerve as it passes under or sometimes through the muscle

Narrowing of the nerve canal or spinal stenosis – the joints in the spine can degenerate and bony growths or osteophytes occur putting pressure on the nerve.

Infection – within the spine or surrounding structures can cause inflammation which can irritate the nerve

Pregnancy – position of baby can put pressure on one of the sciatic nerve and can cause pain.

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