Our sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in our body with a width of almost 2 cm. The sciatic nerve starts at/from our sacral plexus (which is a bundle/network of nerves inside our pelvic area, that then branches out and downwards into each thigh and leg).
Our sciatic nerve has two key functions:
If/when our sciatic nerve is compressed or injured, the symptoms are referred to as "sciatica" ie of sciatic nerve. Patients with sciatica may report experiencing:
The most commonly known reason and cause is the "slipped disc" (medically termed as herniated disc/disc herniation). What happens is that the displaced disc protudes outside of its normal boundaries and presses onto the spinal nerve root that is connected to the sciatic nerve.
And unfortunately, as our sciatic nerve IS the longest nerve in our body, it becomes the most at risk for it to be compressed/damaged. Examples include:
There are other conditions that may also cause sciatica-like symptoms, for example:
Patients with sciatica may experience one or more of the following:
In some rare/severe cases, if there is very severe pain AND difficulty controlling bowel or bladder, it is considered as a medical emergency and patients need to immediately get treated/seen by a spine specialist or orthopedic surgeon.
Sciatica is a specific type of nerve injury, pain and symptoms which is caused and aggravated both by
on the spinal nerve root, so the treatments for sciatica will be focused on relieving both of the issues as mentioned above. Treatments will include:
When patient's sciatica has been resolved, they may benefit from an ongoing spinal care, including spinal physiotherapy and clinical pilates to ensure that their core and back muscle strength are in tip top condition, and ensure flexibility in joints.