Sciatica – also known as Leg Pain:
What you need to know
The term sciatica describes the symptoms of leg pain and possibly tingling, numbness or weakness that originates in the lower back and travels through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of the leg.
Sciatica is not a medical diagnosis in and of itself – it is a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
Common Symptoms Of Sciatica:
- Constant pain in only one side of the buttock or leg (rarely occurs in both legs)
- Pain that is worse when sitting
- Burning or tingling down the leg (vs. a dull ache)
- Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
- A sharp pain that may make it difficult to stand up or to walk
- Sciatic pain can vary from infrequent and irritating to constant and incapacitating.
Specific sciatica symptoms also vary widely in type, location and severity, depending upon the condition causing the sciatica (such as a lumbar herniated disc). While symptoms can be very painful, it is rare that permanent sciatic nerve damage (tissue damage) will result.
Self-Care Treatments May Include:
Cold packs: Initially, you may get relief from a cold pack placed on the painful area for up 20 minutes several times a day. Use an ice pack or a package of frozen peas wrapped in a clean towel.
Hot packs: After two to three days, apply heat to the areas that hurt. Use hot packs, a heat lamp or a heating pad on the lowest setting. If you continue to have pain, try alternating warm and cold packs.
Stretching: Stretching exercises for your low back can help you feel better and may help relieve nerve root compression. Avoid jerking, bouncing or twisting during the stretch and try to hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds.