Sciatica refers to pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg. It is caused by injury to or pressure on the sciatic nerve, which starts in the lower back and runs down the back of each leg. This nerve controls the muscles of the back of the knee and the lower leg. It also provides sensation to the back of the thigh, the lower leg, and the sole of the foot. Sciatica is a symptom of a medical problem, not a medical condition on its own.
Some common causes of sciatica include a slipped or herniated disc, spinal stenosis, a pelvic fracture or other injury, a tumor, or piriformis syndrome (a pain disorder).
Usually, sciatica pain occurs on one side. It may be a sharp pain in one part of the leg and numbness in other parts. The affected leg may feel weak and sometimes your foot may get caught on the ground when walking. Sciatica pain sometimes worsens when bending, coughing, holding your breath, straining, or standing.
Ogden Clinic sciatica treatment will focus on what causes your sciatica. Your spine specialist will likely first recommend that you take steps to calm your symptoms and reduce inflammation, such as applying heat or ice to the painful area. You might try ice for the first 48-72 hours after you feel pain, then use heat afterwards. Your Ogden Clinic doctor might also tell you to take over-the-counter pain relievers. If conservative measures don't help your problem, your doctor may recommend you have injections to reduce inflammation around your sciatic nerve and other medicines to reduce the stabbing pain. Physical therapy may be a viable option, so talk to your Utah spine specialist about this option.
Whatever you do, don't restrict movement. You need to reduce your normal activity for the first few days after you start having pain, but getting no activity at all will only make your pain worse. After a few days, try gradually returning to your normal routine. But, avoid heavy lifting or twisting your back for at least six weeks. Keep moving and including exercises that strengthen your abdomen to improve the flexibility of your spine.
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have: