Sciatica itself is not a medical condition, but a symptom of other spinal conditions that occur when pressure is placed on the sciatic nerve. What is commonly referred to as the sciatic nerve in the lower back is actually a grouping of nerves, which join at the gluteal area of the spine to form the sciatic nerve. This nerve runs from the glutes and down the back of each leg. When pressure is placed on one of the originating nerves in the lower back and it becomes compressed, the symptoms of sciatica or radiculopathy occur.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatic pain can be the result of several spinal conditions, including herniated discs, bone spurs and spinal stenosis. Sciatic pain can vary from intermittent to severe and constant and can cause pain and numbness or weakness in the lower back and extremities.
Symptoms of Sciatica
- Pain, typically affects only one side of your body
- Pain can travel through the hips, back of legs, and/or bottom of feet
- Electrical pain, lingering aches, mild tingling, or sharp burning sensations
- Numbness in the leg
- Weakness in the leg or hip
The MISI Approach to Sciatica Treatment
Since sciatic pain is a potential symptom of several other medical conditions, the first step in treating sciatica is diagnosing the cause of the pressure placed on the associated spinal nerves. Typically sciatic pain can be treated non-operatively and resolves within a few weeks. Our doctors will pinpoint the cause of the pain to determine the best possible treatment. If the condition causing sciatic pain is severe enough to require a surgical solution, the specialists at The Minimally Invasive Spine Institute routinely perform short outpatient, minimally invasive procedures that can allow for a safe and fast recovery.
Dr. Bryce Benbow has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.