What is sciatica?

Sciatica is the name of any kind of pain caused by an inflamed, compressed or hypersensitive sciatic nerve.

Symptoms of sciatica

When the sciatic nerve has been irritated it may cause lower back pain. Numbness, mild or heavy pain may also occur through the buttocks, back of the legs, feet and toes.

Causes of sciatica

The main cause of sciatica is a slipped disc between the bones of the spine. This disc then presses down onto the nerve, causing discomfort.

Seeking medical advice

You should consult your GP if pain, numbness and irritation persists or worsens.
Immediately call 999 if the pain occurs in both legs or if you are experiencing a sudden loss of bowel and/or bladder control.

Treating sciatica

Sciatica can mostly be treated at home with anti-inflammatory medication, hot and cold packs, exercise and stretching. These methods should alleviate the symptoms until the condition improves.

However, if the condition doesn’t appear to be improving within six weeks, alternate therapies can be sought. A pain specialist will be able to provide solutions to help manage the pain on an ongoing basis.