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Sciatica is a common group of symptoms that occur when the sciatic nerve is compressed, injured, and/or inflamed. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and branches out from the spinal cord in the lower back through both buttocks and legs. The sciatic nerve and its branches are responsible for movement and feeling in the legs and feet.
Compression, injury or inflammation of the sciatic nerve results in symptoms that typically include intense pain anywhere along the nerve path through the legs and feet. Weakness and numbness can also occur. Sciatica may also result in complications. For additional symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of sciatica.
Sciatica frequently occurs due to a bulging or herniated disc in the spine, which can pinch the sciatic nerve. Sciatica can also occur due to trauma to the spine, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, pregnancy, or rarely, a spinal tumor.
Sciatica is often diagnosed and treated by a spine specialist or a chiropractor. Making a diagnosis of sciatica begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms. A physical and neurological examination that focuses on the back and lower extremities is also done and includes an assessment of range of motion of the back and legs. A neurological exam is performed to evaluate the muscles, nerves and nervous system and such functions as reflexes, sensation and pain, movement, balance, and coordination.
Diagnostic testing may include special tests that test the nerves and muscles. These include an electromyogram (EMG), which tests the nerve and electrical activity of muscles, and a nerve conduction velocity test, which identifies how fast nerves conduct electrical impulses. Medical testing may also include tests that can help determine any underlying medical disease or conditions that may be causing sciatica. These include imaging tests that create a picture of the spine, such as spinal X-ray, CT and/or MRI.
It is possible that a diagnosis of sciatica can be missed or delayed because symptoms may be mild or similar to symptoms of other diseases and conditions. For more information about diseases and disorders that can mimic sciatica, refer to misdiagnosis of sciatica.
Treatment for sciatica varies depending on the severity of symptoms, the presence of complications, a person's age and medical history, and the type of work and activities a person does. Treatment can reduce or eliminate symptoms and complications. Treatment options include chiropractic therapy, physical therapy, exercises, medication, alternative therapies, and possibly surgery. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of sciatica....more »
A diagnosis of sciatica may be delayed or missed because symptoms, such as leg weakness, pain and tingling may be mild, develop slowly, and can differ greatly from person to person. In addition, symptoms of sciatica can be similar to or accompany symptoms of other conditions and diseases. These include herniated disc, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and ...more misdiagnosis »
The following medical conditions are some of the possible
causes of Sciatica.
There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor
about your symptoms.
Home medical tests possibly related to Sciatica:
Review causes of types of Sciatica in more specific categories:
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Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Sciatica, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.
With early recognition and treatment, in many cases it is possible to reverse the symptoms of sciatica. The most successful treatment and prevention plans use a multipronged approach individualized to the underlying cause, the severity of symptoms, a person's medical history, general health and other factors.
The first step in treatment is prevention. This includes using good body mechanics ...Sciatica Treatments
Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Sciatica may include:
Review further information on Sciatica Treatments.
Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Sciatica may include:
Real-life user stories relating to Sciatica:
Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Sciatica may include these symptoms:
Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:
Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Sciatica:
Read more about causes and Sciatica deaths.
Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps, particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes. However, there are also various other causes. See causes of leg cramps or misdiagnosis of diabetes...read more »
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Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:
Sciatica is a painful condition caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve, the main nerve that branches off the spinal cord and continues down into the thighs, legs, ankles, and feet. Sciatica is characterized by pain in the buttocks and can be caused by a number of factors. Exertion, obesity, and poor posture can all cause pressure on the sciatic nerve. One common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc (see Spine Basics in the Appendix). (Source: excerpt from Pain -- Hope Through Research: NINDS)
Sciatica is a painful condition caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve, the main nerve that branches... (Source: excerpt from Pain -- Hope Through Research: NINDS)
Neuralgia along the sciatic nerve
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)
Syndrome characterized by pain radiating from the back into the buttock and into the lower extremity along its posterior or lateral aspect, and most commonly caused by protrusion of a low lumbar intervertebral disk; also used to refer to pain anywhere along the course of the sciatic nerve.
- (Source - CRISP)
The list below shows some of the causes of Sciatica mentioned in various sources:
This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Sciatica. Of the 30 causes of Sciatica that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:
The following list of conditions have 'Sciatica' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.
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Medical Conditions associated with Sciatica:
Lower back pain (89 causes), Back symptoms (1093 causes), Nerve symptoms (9132 causes), Neurological symptoms (9575 causes), Pain (6458 causes), Back pain (479 causes), Sensations (6520 causes), Brain symptoms (2787 causes), Sensory symptoms (7134 causes), Common symptoms (8589 causes), Body symptoms (5672 causes), Swelling symptoms (3730 causes), Head symptoms (10192 causes)
Symptoms related to Sciatica:
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