Sciatica occurs when one or more nerves in your lower back and legs are irritated, pinched, inflammatory, or compressed. Sciatica is usually not a serious or dangerous condition, and most people recover on their own with time and self-care solutions. However, in severe situations, surgery may be required. You can consult Dr. Patrick S. McNulty for more information.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a sciatic nerve discomfort caused by an inflammation or injury. In addition to discomfort, you may have tingling or numbness in your back or buttocks, which may spread down your leg. More severe symptoms may also occur.
The sciatic nerve is your body’s longest and thickest nerve. It can be up to 2 cm broad (the width of a US penny or a 1 pence coin in the United Kingdom). It is not simply one nerve, despite its name. It is a collection of nerves originating from five nerve roots that branch off your spinal cord.
On each side of your body, you have two sciatic nerves. Each sciatic nerve runs through your hip and buttock on one side. They run down your leg, one on each side of your body, until they reach just below your knee. Once there, they separate into many nerves that connect to areas of your body farther down, such as your foot, lower leg, and toes.
Sciatica causes mild to severe pain everywhere some nerves connect to the sciatic nerve. Your lower back, hips, buttocks, and legs may be affected. Depending on the nerve(s) damaged, some symptoms may reach as far as your feet and toes.
Types of sciatica
Sciatica is classified into two categories. The results are the same regardless of the type you have. The kinds are as follows:
- True sciatica
This includes any ailment or injury that directly impacts your sciatic nerve.
- Sciatica like symptoms
These conditions resemble sciatica but are caused by factors unrelated to the sciatic nerve or the nerves that bundle together to produce it.
Healthcare practitioners commonly refer to both kinds of sciatica as “sciatica.” The distinctions between them are typically only relevant when your healthcare professional decides how to treat it.
Is sciatica common?
Sciatica is a relatively prevalent ailment. Approximately 40% of people in the United States sometimes suffer from sciatica. It seldom occurs before age 20 unless it is caused by an accident.
Sciatica can occur as a result of any disorder affecting the sciatic nerve. It can also occur due to disorders affecting any of the five spinal nerves constituting the sciatic nerve. To learn more about sciatica, consult a healthcare professional today.