What side is the sciatic nerve located?

Many people wonder what side the sciatic nerve is located on, but it’s actually located on both sides of the body. The sciatic nerve, the largest and longest nerve in the body, starts off as nerve roots that branch off from the lower spine to the pelvic area. From there, the sciatic nerve travels down both the right and left leg, all the way into the feet. That’s why symptoms of sciatica can be felt in the buttocks, thighs, legs and feet.

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition that describes the symptoms that can occur when the sciatic nerve is compressed. This compression can occur anywhere along the path of the sciatic nerve. It is common for one or more of the spine’s components – like a displaced vertebra, enlarged facet joint, bulging spinal disc or thickened ligament – to cause sciatic nerve compression. Symptoms usually occur on one side of the body, and they tend to begin in the lower back and travel down through the buttocks to the back of the legs. Symptoms can include:

  • Pain
  • Burning
  • Cramping
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling
  • Numbness

Treatments for sciatica

If you are diagnosed with sciatica, your physician may suggest a regimen of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to manage the pain; you can buy these in drugstores, or your physician may prescribe you a stronger medication. He or she may also refer you to a physical therapist, who can help you increase your range of motion and teach you how to move in ways that minimize pain. Steroid medication can also be injected near the sciatic nerve to reduce inflammation around the nerve. Additionally, treatments like stretching, regular exercise, hot and cold therapy, posture adjustment and weight loss are often involved in sciatica treatment.

If you’ve tried a combination of conservative treatments, and nothing has provided lasting pain relief, surgery may be an option. To find out if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive, outpatient surgery at Laser Spine Institute, please contact us today.

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