What are the symptoms of sciatica?

Sciatica symptoms can have a severe effect on your life, causing pain and making it difficult to get around. Simple tasks you once took for granted, like walking your dog or preparing a meal, can become almost impossible. If you’ve been diagnosed with sciatica, or you think your back or leg pain may be related to this condition, learning about the specific symptoms of sciatica can be helpful. Whether you’re not quite sure what your diagnosis means, or you want to be as informed as possible when you see your doctor, the following overview can make you a more engaged and confident patient.

Causes and specific symptoms of sciatica

The term sciatica describes the symptoms caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. The longest, thickest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve originates in the lower back and travels the length of the legs. When a spine condition caused by aging or injury, such as a bulging or herniated disc, progresses to the point that it places pressure on this nerve, sciatica symptoms occur.

Because this nerve sends motor and sensory signals to much of the lower body, movement is very often affected in addition to any discomfort being experienced. The symptoms can be experienced in the lower back, buttocks, hips, backs of the legs and feet. Commonly reported sciatica symptoms include:

  • Shooting pains
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Limping

Treatment methods

Fortunately, conservative treatment options have proven to be very effective in managing the symptoms of sciatica, helping many patients get back to normal, comfortable activity. Upon diagnosis, doctors will often recommend medication, physical therapy, light exercise and epidural steroid injections.

However, if the conservative treatment plan your physician recommends does not bring relief within the expected timeframe, contact Laser Spine Institute. We provide a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery^ by using a less than 1-inch incision and other muscle-sparing techniques.

To learn more and receive a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures, reach out to our dedicated team of Spine Care Consultants today.

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