What is Sciatica?

Sciatica refers to low back pain that travels down the back of the leg, affecting the hips, buttocks, thighs and calves. The name is derived from the sciatic nerve, which runs down the leg and is primarily affected by the pain.
It is often caused by reasons including herniated spine discs, or even an overgrowth of bone that puts pressure on the nerve. Sciatica can affect anyone, but your chances of experiencing it are much higher if you are older in age, obese, diabetic, sitting for prolonged hours or working strenuous jobs.
Sciatica is most commonly observed to have the following symptoms:
  • Low back pain (usually just down one leg)
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Muscle weakness
In most common cases of sciatica, the experience is mild, and often goes away with rest and self-care. However, it is advisable to seek medical attention if your sciatica is worsening, and exhibiting critical symptoms including:
  • Sudden, severe low back pain, usually paired with numbness or muscle weakness
  • Pain after extreme injury
  • Trouble controlling bowels or bladder


Prior to recommending treatment options for low back pain or nerve symptoms, a proper clinical evaluation is done by the doctor. Imaging modalities such as X-rays and/or MRI may subsequently be done depending on the clinical history and examination by the doctor. Once a diagnosis is established, treatment options can then be suggested.
For low back pain from a muscle strain, degeneration of the spine or tears in spinal discs is often successfully done with the following methods:
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Physical therapy
For sciatica, treatments can include:
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Physiotherapy
  • Bed rest
  • Spinal injections
  • Keyhole spinal surgery