Sciatica symptoms and solutions

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a term that describes pain radiating along the sciatic nerve which runs from the lower back, down through the buttock, hamstrings, and into the lower leg. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. What are some potential causes of sciatica? There are several anatomical structures in the body that can cause this referred pain. Pinched nerve roots in the low back (called radiculopathy), the sacroiliac joint, a pinching of the sciatic nerve deep in your bottom (piriformis syndrome), and referred pain from your low back discs, are just some of the possibilities. Pressure on the sciatic nerve from a herniated disc can cause sciatica.  Other common causes include joint inflammation, compression of the nerve from bony arthritic growths or a locked facet joint in the lower spine. What are the symptoms? Sciatica causes pain that usually begins in the lower back and spreads through the buttock, leg, calf and, occasionally, the foot. The pain can vary between dull, aching or burning sensations and sharp, shooting pains. Sciatica can also cause tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the affected leg. It is very important to seek medical attention in these situations as long-term nerve compression can permanently damage the nerve and its function. In these cases, your symptoms may become permanent. One or more of the following sensations may occur because of sciatica:
  • Pain in the rear or leg that is worse when sitting
  • Burning or tingling down the leg
  • Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • A constant pain on one side of the rear calf
  • A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up
How is it diagnosed? Sciatica is a clinical diagnosis based upon your symptom description, the behaviour of your pain and a thorough physical examination. The cause may require further examination, including medical imaging such as CT scan, MRI or x-ray. If you have sciatica symptoms, contact the clinic today so we can get you on a path to recovery as soon as possible. We will develop a program for you to manage your pain and inflammation, and work toward returning to your desired activities and educate you in self-management techniques to prevent a reoccurrence. We’re conveniently located at the corner of Dundas and Trafalgar in Oakville.