Results May vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as typical. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Below are merely personal stories and do not guarantee success.

What is Sciatica

August 9th, 2016


Contrary to popular belief, sciatica is not an actual medical diagnosis.  Rather, sciatica actually refers to the symptoms of leg pain that originate in the lower area of the back, traveling through the glutes, and radiate down the large nerve in the back of each of the legs.  This large nerve is termed the “sciatic nerve,” hence the name sciatica for the condition associated with this condition.  The pain may additionally be associated with numbness, tingling, or weakness as well.

There are various conditions that can cause sciatica symptoms.  Some of the more common conditions include degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, a lumbar herniated disc, and spondylolisthesis.

Common Symptoms of Sciatica

Just as sciatica can come from a variety of back issues, its symptoms can also vary widely.  Most often, individuals suffering from sciatica will experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pain leg that worsens when sitting down
  • Sharp, shooting pains that may make it difficult to walk or even stand upright
  • Radiating pain that travels down the leg, which can travel all the way to the toes
  • Constant pain in one leg or glute (rarely in both)
  • Difficulty moving the feet, toes, or legs, typically accompanied with numbness or weakness
  • A searing or burning leg pain

The pain can be infrequent to constant, and can be merely irritating to completely incapacitating.  The symptoms associated with a particular individual’s condition is most commonly dependent on the location of the nerve being pinched.  On a positive note, despite how disabling and painful sciatica can be, it is rare that permanent damage results from the issue.

Sciatica and the Sciatic Nerve

The reason sciatica can be so debilitating is because the sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the body.  It is made up of nerve roots that branch out from the lower spinal area and then combine to form what we term as the “sciatic nerve.”  The symptoms of sciatica occur when the large nerve is compressed or otherwise irritated close to its point of origin.  This in turn causes issues with the rest of the nerve that travels down through the leg all the way to the toes, hence why sciatica is able to impact such a large region of the body.

Onset of Sciatica

Sciatica is most commonly found in middle aged individuals.  It is rare to see someone under 25 suffering from sciatica.  This is due to sciatica typically developing over a long period of time, rarely attributed to a particular injury.

The majority of those who suffer from sciatica will recover within weeks to a few months.  Surgery is not typically required, though other nonsurgical treatments are available that can provide relief.

If you believe you may be suffering from sciatica, consulting your doctor is strongly advised.  Your doctor can ensure your sciatica is not being caused by a serious medical issue and does not require immediate medical attention.  With how vital the sciatic nerve is to the body, it is always better to play safe than sorry when it comes to issues associated with it such as sciatica.

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