Understanding Sciatica Symptoms

Understanding Sciatica

Sciatica symptoms can include pain that radiates along your body’s sciatic nerve as well as other issues. This nerve extends from your lower back to your buttocks, hips, and the backs of your legs. If the sciatic nerve is compressed, the resulting symptoms are called sciatica.

One of the most common causes of sciatica is a herniated disc. When they are healthy, discs act as shock absorbers to your spine’s vertebrae. If discs become damaged or worn down, they can bulge and press on nerves in the spinal column, including the sciatic nerve. Visit our sciatica causes page to learn more about the ways that your body’s longest nerve can be compressed.

Common Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica symptoms vary considerably, depending on the type and severity of the underlying condition. You may feel tingling, numbness, weakness, or a dull to sharp shooting pain down the thigh and leg. Typically, the pain starts slowly and affects only one side of the body at a time but it is possible to experience it on both sides as well.

Other sciatica symptoms include:

  • Difficulty sitting, standing, or walking
  • Worsening pain when you cough, laugh, or sneeze
  • Discomfort when leaning backward
  • Muscle weakness

If you’re experiencing any of these sciatica symptoms, reach out to your doctor. They can ask you about symptoms, perform a physical examination, and perform other diagnostic tests like an MRI and nerve conduction tests. The purpose is to positively diagnose the underlying cause of sciatica and to rule out other causes of these symptoms.

Treating Sciatica Symptoms

Upon diagnosis, most doctors will recommend a course of conservative treatment options. Please review our sciatica nerve treatments page for tips on reducing pain and swelling, including using hot and cold packs, over-the-counter medication, and exercises.

Sometimes, patients need more than conservative treatment to regain normal motion and find relief from pain. If you have been researching surgical interventions for sciatica, you might have heard about spinal cord stimulation therapy. 

Spinal cord stimulation is a modern intervention that blocks pain signals from reaching the brain. BEST Health System offers advanced treatment options to help patients suffering from debilitating chronic pain. You deserve to find relief. Contact us today to learn more.