Sciatica or sciatic neuralgia is a common condition in which one of the spinal nerve roots of the sciatic nerve is compressed resulting in lower back, buttock and leg pain. Sciatic nerve is a large nerve derived from 5 spinal nerve roots L4, L5, S1, S2 and S3. It runs from the lumbar spine through the buttock down the leg and the foot on the posterior aspect. There is one sciatic nerve on each side of the body. Typically, only one side of the body is affected. A typical sciatica pain is described as a.
Sharp shooting pain in the lower back, down the buttock, thigh and leg on one side of the body. There may also be numbness, burning and tingling sensations. The pain can get worse with sitting, moving, sneezing, or coughing. The patterns of pain depend on which nerve root is compressed, and follow the dermatome distribution. The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated spinal disc. The spinal disc is a soft elastic cushion that sits in between the vertebrae of the spine. With age, the discs become rigid and may crack, the gellike center of the disc may protrude out and become a herniation.
Outside the normal boundaries of the disc. Disc herniation presses on the nerve root as it exits the spine. In majority of the cases the condition resolves by itself after a few weeks of rest and conservative treatment. Pain relief, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants may be prescribed. Stretching exercises and physical therapy may be recommended. Surgery may be needed if the pain doesn’t go away after 3 months or more of conservative treatments. The herniated disc may be removed in a procedure called discectomy. Or, in another procedure called laminotomy, part of the bone.