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Sciatic Nerve Symptoms: Number of Warning Signs You Should Watch Out

Jun 11, 2008
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, which extends from each side of lower spine through rear and back of the thigh and then down to foot. This vein connects the spinal cord with leg and foot muscles. When there is an irritation or compression of the nerve roots in the lower spine, it may result in sciatic pain. The most common cause of sciatic pain is an irritation of L5 or S1 nerve root in the lower spine by the herniated disc.

Gunshot wounds, fractures of pelvis and other trauma to buttocks or thigh most commonly injure the sciatic nerve. The systemic diseases like diabetes may damage it. Due to this, the pain radiates into the rear and extends down back of the thigh and calf. Occasionally, it may extend down to the foot. Tingling, numbness and prickling or burning sensation are the most common sciatic nerve symptoms.

In most cases, a simple irritation to the sciatic nerve is the main cause of sciatic pain, which may be healed with time. However, some sciatic nerve symptoms may indicate somewhat serious injury to sciatic nerve.

- If numbness or weakness is present, the sciatic nerve may be damaged and you need to seek medical attention. If the pain and symptoms are extremely severe due to compressed nerve, you may need to undergo surgery.

- If there is incontinence of bowel or bladder or progressive weakness or loss of sensation in legs, then it indicates a serious condition, which requires immediate medical attention.

Generally, sciatic nerve symptoms affect one side of the body. The pain may be sharp or dull and burning or it may be accompanied by the intermittent shocks of shooting pain that starts at the buttock extending down to back of the thigh and leg. Sciatic pain then extends below the knee and may be experienced in the feet. There may be numbness and tingling in the leg. Patient may feel it very difficult and painful sitting and trying to stand up. The pain may be intensified with coughing and sneezing.

One of the most common sciatic nerve symptoms is similar to the pain that occurs during a severe leg cramp, such as extreme pain in low back extending to one buttock and down the leg. Pain generally worsens on bending forward or exertion. There may be numbness and weakness in the leg as well as diminution of the reflexes. Pain may be so severe that the lower back gets locked in sideways position resulted from a strong contraction. True sciatic pain occurs due to compression of sciatic nerve roots because of herniated lumbar disc.

In case of longstanding history of sciatic pain, the pain may gradually get localized to the buttocks and back of the leg. In such situation, the patient may experience a vague aching pain, which does not extend to the lower leg or foot.

Usually, patient's history and physical examination are the important part of diagnosis of sciatic pain. Various treatment options such as medications, physical therapy, exercises etc. focus on relieving pain and manage the symptoms.
About the Author
For more information on sciatica and sciatica treatment visit http://www.sciaticatreatment.org
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