Sciatica is pain, burning, and/or tingling in the lower back, buttocks, and down the leg along the path of the sciatic nerve. This usually occurs on just one side of the lower body. It happens when something irritates the nerves coming from the lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine.
Causes of sciatica include:
- Degeneration of discs between the vertebrae in the lumbar spine
- Slippage of one vertebra over another
- Narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back
Pregnancy, being overweight, or muscle spasms can make the pain worse.
Your doctor will recommend over-the-counter pain medications or prescribe muscle relaxants or other pain medications if needed. You may also need physical therapy. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a steroidal or anesthetic injection around the spinal nerve. If the pain and irritation do not get better, your doctor may offer other forms of therapy. They include electrical nerve stimulation, electrothermal therapy, and alternative therapies like acupuncture.
If pain lasts for more than six weeks, your doctor may suggest surgery. An orthopedic surgeon will help determine the type of surgery that would be appropriate for you.