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What Do You Need to Know About Sciatica?

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What Do You Need to Know About Sciatica?

Neurosciences | Posted on 03/30/2023 by Dr. Amit Chakrabarty

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a common clinical condition which occurs when there is an extension of the sciatica nerve from the lower back to the buttocks, and legs and gets pinched. The name sciatic is given because it irritates the sciatic nerve. Usually, the primary reason behind the pain is a compressed nerve in the lower spine which is mostly confused with regular back pain. It is not only restricted to the back but sciatica is the widest and longest nerve in the human body. Injury to sciatica is very rare, but the term is used commonly to define any pain originating in the lower back and radiating down the leg.

If you are diagnosed with sciatica, you might be experiencing mild to severe pain along the sciatic nerve path. It also causes muscle weakness in the leg and foot, leg numbness, and sensations like pins and needles in the leg, toes, and foot. In this blog, we will comprehensively discuss everything related to sciatica. So, make sure to stick to the end.

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

The most common sciatica symptoms are:

  • Weakness or hard time moving the leg or foot
  • Pinching pain which makes for you to stand up
  • Constant pain in the rear’s one side
  • Burning or tingling down the leg
  • Hip pain
  • Rear pain that is worse

When should you not delay the doctor's visit?

If you experiencing the following signs, make sure not to delay the doctor's visit:

  • Severe sciatica pain
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Weakness or numbness in upper thighs, bottom, legs or pelvis
  • Pain moving down the legs
  • Swelling or redness in the spine or back
  • Bladder or bowel control loss

What are the risk factors and causes of sciatica?

The primary sciatica cause is herniated disk in most cases and other common sciatica causes include:

  • Degenerative disk illness
  • Muscle spasms in the buttocks or back
  • Pregnancy
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Pregnancy

Risk factors

There are various sciatica risk factors which include:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Wearing high heels
  • Smoking
  • Workplace, if it involves sitting or driving for longer periods
  • Using too hard or too soft mattresses for sleep
  • Ageing

What exercises can help in relieving sciatica pain?

If you are looking for exercises for sciatica pain then, stretching exercises are your answer. Usually, sciatica cases occur due to muscular imbalances or poor posture causing muscle imbalances over time, stretching can help in strengthening the weak muscles and releasing the tension to contracted muscles. Here are some effective and best stretching exercises for Sciatica:

Piriformis Stretch - Piriformis is a muscle placed deep inside the pelvis. When it is tight, it causes clamping down on your sciatic nerve and pain in the hips or buttocks. This stretch benefits in releasing the Piriformis. The first step, to begin this exercise is sitting on the floor with both feet flat on the floor in front of you and bent knees. If you experience pain in the left side, try taking your left leg and crossing it over the right leg. After that, grab your left leg with your arms and try hugging it close to your chest. When you try this exercise, you will experience a stretching sensation in your buttocks which is a Piriformis muscle. Make sure to hold this pose as long as you are comfortable doing this. You can repeat this stretching exercise daily until the pain diminishes.

Cobra Stretch - We generally spend most of our time sitting, and even don't have good posture. This causes muscle pull. The sitting position encourages us to slouch and it eventually causes back pain. Hence, in such a case, cobra stretch comes to the rescue. It benefits in pulling the muscles in the opposite direction and can undo the effects of sitting. The first step for this yoga is lying down on the floor on your belly. After that, place your hands on the floor at about chest level and lift the upper body off the ground. Now, try leaning your head back but ensure keeping the hips and legs flat on the floor. This yoga exercise will assist you in opening up the back and stretching the muscles which always make you feel like slouching.

Swan Dive and Flat Back - This next yoga stretch essentially helps in tightening the nerve and pulling it free of any kink sort that it may have gotten trapped in. Begin this yoga by standing with your back straight and keeping your feet together on the floor. Then, raise your hands over your head as much as you can and touch them together keeping your elbows straight. Then, lower your arms and bend your hips to try to touch your toes. Initially, you might experience issues while touching your toes. Also, ensure keeping your back flat and straight. It is essential to keep your back flat and straight as it makes it easier for you to touch your toes. By continuing this over time, your flexibility will increase and you finally can touch your toes. You will experience the stretch in your lower back and hips.

How is sciatica pain diagnosed?

The sciatica diagnosis is initiated by a doctor through a physical exam and family history. After understanding the condition and depending on the symptoms, the following are the tests that might be ordered by a doctor:

  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • Magnetic resource imaging or MRI scan
  • Electromyography

What are the treatment options for sciatica?

The sciatica treatment depends on the main cause and the seriousness of the pain. There is a high probability that this sort of radiculopathy is a symptom of another clinical condition and hence a healthcare professional must check it and diagnose the adequate cause of it, mainly if it’s chronic sciatica pain. Generally, simple and conservative treatment is used in several cases, but other options for sciatica treatments include:

  • Cold and heat therapy
  • Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation around the nerve
  • Over- the- counter pain killers, recommended by the doctor

Other recommended treatment options suggested by the doctor are:

  • An active lifestyle with involvement of daily exercise
  • No heavy lifting or twisting of the back
  • Exercise to strengthen the back and the abdominal muscles.

Surgery- If symptoms continue even after many weeks or months of conservative sciatica treatment, surgery may be recommended as the next step. The kind of surgery required will depend on the primary physical cause of sciatica, the overall health of the patient and the sciatic nerve compression location. Patients who have concerns regarding the risks and potential side effects of spine surgery must discuss this with their doctors.


Sciatica is a painful medical condition that occurs if there is inflammation or irritation in the sciatica nerve. If you are diagnosed with sciatica, you will feel moderate to severe pain. It is important to get in touch with a healthcare professional on time if you experience weakness or numbness down the legs, buttocks, and back. You can include various options to relieve the symptoms like OTC drugs, using hot and cold compresses and regularly exercising will be helpful. You mustn’t delay your appointment with the doctor if even after the treatment your symptoms and condition are not improving. You can consult Rukmani Birla hospital, one of the best healthcare services in Jaipur offering the most amazing and unmatchable patient care. With the assistance of healthcare experts, you will receive the best treatment according to your requirements.


Is sciatica curable?

Yes, sciatica is curable and with medications, certain lifestyle changes, stretching, exercises, and therapy it can be treated.

Does sciatica cause knee pain?

Yes, sciatica causes knee pain, primarily to the people who already have orthopaedic conditions.