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Sciatica refers to pain along the sciatic nerve. This nerve extends from the back of the pelvis through the hips and buttocks and down the back of the thigh.
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and also the main nerve of the leg. It controls the muscles and provides sensation in the whole leg.
Sciatica is also known as lumbar radiculopathy.
Symptoms of sciatica vary among individuals.
Some common symptoms include:
Typically, sciatica affects only one side of the body.
Sciatica is most commonly caused by a herniated or ‘slipped’ disc in the spine that presses on a spinal nerve. Neuritis (inflammation of the nerve root) can also cause sciatica.
Less common causes include:
Risk factors for sciatica include:
Depending on the cause of the sciatica, most people tend to make a full recovery.
However in some cases, sciatica can cause permanent nerve damage and lead to:
It is not always possible to prevent sciatica, and the condition may recur.
However good back care, posture and lifestyle changes can help to prevent back pain.
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