What are the common sciatica symptoms?

Sciatica is a term used to describe the collection of symptoms caused by sciatic nerve compression. The exact symptoms of sciatica can vary widely depending on the exact cause, location and severity of the underlying disorder. One of the most common causes of sciatica is the development of a degenerative condition in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine, where the sciatic nerve originates.

The resulting symptoms can be experienced throughout the lower body, which can make diagnosing and treating this condition difficult. However, with the guidance of a medical professional, managing sciatic pain can be possible with a series of conservative, nonsurgical treatments.

The sciatic nerve

The sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body, begins in the lower back and extends down through the buttocks, hips and legs before ending in the feet. This important nerve sends sensory and motor signals to a variety of muscle groups that are required for basic movement. When the regular function of this nerve is disrupted, sciatica symptoms result.

Sciatic nerve compression symptoms

Compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve can occur for a variety of reasons. Traumatic injury, strain from repetitive mechanical movements, pregnancy and age-related spine conditions are all causes of sciatica. Spine conditions, such as degenerative disc disease, facet disease and spinal stenosis, are particularly common in individuals who have reached middle age.

Compression of the sciatic nerve can lead to the following sciatica symptoms:

  • Lower back pain
  • Burning or electrical pain that shoots through the buttocks or hips
  • Numbness or tingling in the legs and feet
  • Muscle weakness and cramping
  • Diminished reflexes
  • Stiff or sore joints

Treatment for sciatica

If you are experiencing sciatica symptoms and are considering surgery after not finding the relief you need from conservative options like medication and physical therapy, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery provides many advantages when compared to traditional open spine procedures, including less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time for our patients.^

Find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures by asking one of our Spine Care Consultants about our no-cost MRI review.*

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