The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, running from the lower back of the thigh and all the way to the foot. Sciatica pain is nerve pain caused by nerve irritation, inflammation, or injury. Sciatica is caused by pressure on a nerve, which can be caused, for example, by pregnancy or incorrect posture that puts too much strain on the back. However, the most common cause of sciatica is bulge due to degeneration of the intervertebral disc. Although sciatica symptoms can vary, they most often affect the back, legs, and buttocks.
The most common form of sciatica is most often caused by improper strain on the back, a bulging disc, or osteoarthritis. Sciatica can also be caused by vertebral displacement and/or osteoporosis. They can put pressure on the nerve, which often causes lower back pain. The pain can also radiate to the leg.
Common Sciatica symptoms
- Dull pain (numbness) in leg, foot and/or toes
- Stabbing pain in buttock/leg
- Pain shoots in the back
- Weakened muscles
Symptoms of sciatica due to a herniated disc last on average 6 weeks and can last up to 12 weeks. These symptoms often improve naturally and go away on their own. If the symptoms of sciatica last longer, or if the pain is severe and results in muscle weakness and numbness in the lower extremities, it is advised to seek treatment quickly to prevent the symptoms from prolonging.