What side is the sciatic nerve located on?

The sciatic nerve is located on both sides of the body. The largest and longest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve starts off as nerve roots that branch out 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 sciatica can be felt in the buttocks, thighs, legs and feet.

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a term that describes the symptoms that can present 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, depending on where the compression is taking place, 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 sciatic nerve compression, your physician may suggest a course 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 different combinations of conservative treatments, and nothing has provided lasting pain relief, surgery may be an option. Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery as a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back procedures.^ Contact us today to learn more about how our procedures can address sciatica. To find out if you may be a candidate, ask to receive a free MRI review.*

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