Painful Health Conditions: Sciatica
The causes of sciatica include spinal injury or trauma, bone spurs or other growths, narrowing of the spinal canal, or tight or swollen muscles in the buttock. In many cases, people can’t pinpoint a specific injury that caused the condition.
Risk factors for sciatica include:
age-related changes to the spine
obesity, which can put extra pressure on the spine
occupations where you twist the spine or pick up heavy loads
diabetes, which can increase the risk of nerve damage
Symptoms of sciatica can include pain, tingling and numbness in the leg.
Sciatica is felt as nerve pain radiating from the buttock down the back of the leg, often when sitting, sneezing, coughing or going to the toilet. You may also feel lower back pain, and/or tingling, pins and needles, numbness or weakness in your leg.
Although sciatica pain can be severe, most people find their symptoms improve in time. As sciatica is seen as a more serious low back condition, it’s advisable to see your doctor within the first few days of getting the symptoms. To diagnose sciatica, the doctor will take a medical history and examine your spine and legs.
You should seek medical attention immediately if you have problems controlling your bladder or bowels, or have weakness, numbness or severe pain.