Symptoms of sciatica

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In the middle of a move, you lift a heavier than expected box and suddenly, an electric shock paralyzes your leg. You just got hit by sciatica. Find out the basics about sciatica symptoms.

Contents
What is sciatica?
Symptoms of sciatica
Sciatica: how to relieve pain?

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is due to irritation of the sciatic nerve. At the origin of sciatica, there are several causes:

In a young person, a herniated disc is the main cause. It is an alteration of the lumbar disc between two vertebrae. This rupture of the cartilage will cause compression of the nerve roots.
In subjects over 50 years of age, sciatica may be due to a narrow lumbar canal, which results from confinement of nerve endings in too small a space.

Symptoms of sciatica

The pain seems to start from the buttock, then spreads to the thigh, leg and finally the foot. Finally, stiffness in the spine may prevent the victim from leaning forward. Sometimes the pain does not go beyond the knee and the triggering factor of the crisis is not always identifiable. Pain is increased by exertion, coughing or sneezing. The bending pressures and forces peak in the lower spine. These are the symptoms of sciatica or lombosciatics. Thus, the nerves most often affected are those of the fifth lumbar root and the first sacral root. They form the sciatic nerve that runs down the leg to the foot. It is this damage to the sciatic nerve that is at the origin of these infernal pains.

This pain follows a well-defined path depending on whether it is the fifth lumbar root or the first sacral root that is irritated:

Lumbosciatic L5 : the lumbar pain is prolonged on the external surface of the thigh and leg, crosses the back of the foot and gains the big toe ;
Lumbosciatic S1 : the lumbar pain is prolonged on the buttock, the posterior surface of the thigh and leg, and passing through the sole of the foot, reaches the small toe.
Thus, sciatica can cause several symptoms: cramps, pain in front of or behind the thigh, foot radiation, sensitivity or muscle strength disorders… Signs that the patient must know precisely to give the description to the doctor.

Sciatica: how to relieve pain?

Eight to 9 times out of 10, sciatica heals spontaneously in 6 to 8 weeks. Initially, sciatica-related pain is treated with painkillers, anti-inflammatories or infiltrations. Apart from these treatments, we find the lumbar belt. It reduces the pressure on the sick disc and avoids the micro-movements of the spine which make the hernia grow and increase the compression of the root. The infiltrations serve to instill a very small quantity of cortisone in contact with the root irritated by the herniated disc. Only certain symptoms should lead to consultation without delay: urinary disorders or early paralysis of the foot for example.