Sciatica commonly refers to pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve and is typically felt in the rear, down the back of the leg and possibly to the foot. , and Sciatica is one of the most common forms of pain caused by compression of the spinal nervesthe leg pain often feels much worse than the back pain.
Sciatica is actually a symptom and not a diagnosis. The term literally means that a patient has pain down the leg resulting from compression of the sciatic nerve. The diagnosis is what is causing the compression.
The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the human body; it runs from each side of the lower spine through deep in the rear and back of the thigh, and all the way down to foot, connecting the spinal cord with the leg and foot muscles.
The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest in your body. When it is inflamed, the condition is called sciatica cervical spondylosis(pronounced si’ad-a’ka). Not all leg pain is sciatica, but most all sciatica involves leg pain. Sciatica sufferers often have severe pain along the sciatic nerve path, usually in the back of the legs and thighs, although sometimes the pain may also be felt in the ankle, foot and toes.
Occasionally pain is felt in the front or side of the legs, in the hips, or for some hapless sufferers, in both legs. Apart from pain, paresthesia or pins-and-needles, burning, tingling, prickling, crawling sensations or tenderness may be felt. Ironically the painful leg might feel numb as well!
Sciatica is hell to sufferers. Sleeping, sitting, walking, bending, turning or standing up may be difficult or impossible.
Sciatica pain can occur when the nerve roots in the lower spine are irritated or compressed. Most often, sciatica pain is caused when the L5 or S1 nerve root in the lower spine is irritated by a herniated disc. When this happens, pain radiates into the rear and back of the thigh and calf, and occasionally may extend down to the foot. Numbness, tingling, and/or a burning or prickling sensation are also common symptoms.
Degenerative disc disease may also irritate the nerve root and cause sciatica, while conditions that mimic sciatica include piriformis syndrome and sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Sciatica may also be felt if the nerve is actually mechanically compressed, such as from spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, or arthritis in the spine.
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