Sciatic neuralgia is a general term used to describe the set of symptoms associated with compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which is the longest and widest nerve in the body. Beginning at the level of the fourth lumbar (lower back) vertebra, the sciatic nerve runs through the buttocks and down the legs. Because of the large size of the nerve, and because of the vulnerability of the lower back to degenerative spine conditions associated with the aging process, sciatica is an extremely common source of lower body discomfort.
Specifics of sciatic neuralgia
While the term “neuralgia” can refer to a large range of nerve-related pain, sciatic neuralgia refers to a specific set of symptoms associated with compression of the sciatic nerve. These symptoms also are called sciatica and can include:
- Localized pain at the site of the nerve compression
- Constant pain in the upper leg or buttocks
- Radiating pain, or radiculopathy, which shoots down the lower back, the buttocks, and the legs
- Tingling in the buttocks or legs
- Numbness or weakness in the lower back, buttocks, legs, feet, or toes
Treatment for sciatic neuralgia
While living with sciatica can be uncomfortable, it’s important to know that the symptoms typically can be managed using conservative treatment methods such as over-the-counter or prescription pain medication, exercise, epidural injections, and others. However, if chronic symptoms persist after several weeks of conservative treatment, surgery might become an option. If so, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the many benefits of an outpatient procedure performed using minimally invasive technology. Our specialists will provide a complimentary review of an MRI or CT scan.