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Sciatica: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Have you ever heard of the sciatic nerve? It is the longest nerve in the body. Mobility depends on its sensitivity in both the lateral and posterior parts of the leg until it reaches the sole, instep, and toes.

Sciatica is severe pain that occurs in the path of the sciatic nerve for different causes such as trauma, age, overweight, obesity, or the presence of a herniated disc; this and other alterations can generate sciatica. It is excruciating. It takes a few days to resolve. Therefore, it requires medical treatment for its full resolution.

In this FastlyHealarticle, you will find all the information about Sciatica: causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Causes of sciatica

The causes that give rise to sciatica range from people’s age to bone problems in the spine. Next, you will know each one of them:


As we age, changes occur in the spine, directly related to sciatic nerve compression.

Being overweight or obese

The excess body weight increases the load on the spine, causing sciatica.


The changes to which the woman’s body is subjected during this stage are factors that influence the appearance of sciatica during pregnancy, such as:

  • Weight gain.
  • Alterations in the center of gravity.
  • Hormonal changes.


Direct compression of the sciatic nerve, the product of a direct blow to the nerve or reduction of the lumbar or sacral spinal nerve roots, can lead to the appearance of sciatica. Among these traumas are:

  • Car accidents.
  • Falls
  • Accidents during the practice of a sport such as a soccer.

Trauma can injure nerve endings, and even fractured bone fragments can compress the nerve, causing sciatica.

Herniated disc

This alteration is also known as the lumbar bulge. It is evident in the delicate part: an intervertebral disc has a soft and gelatinous center, while it is more challenging and rubbery in its outer part.

herniated disc occurs when this disc slides or ruptures. In this way, it can cause compression of the nerve roots that pass through this site, such as those of the sciatic nerve, generating what is known as sciatic pain.

Bone spur

It is produced by excessive growth. It is a bony protrusion due to joint damage in the spine. It forms where the bones meet each other at the joints. In the spinal column, they decrease the space, which generates the nervous compression of the sciatic nerve roots, originating the affection in question.

Piriformis syndrome

In the buttocks, there is a muscle called the piriformis. The sciatic nerve passes under this muscle when irritation of this nerve occurs due to the force compressing the nerve, causing the symptoms of nerve compression or sciatica in this case.

Spinal stenosis

It is produced by degeneration of the spine. This can occur from the age of 50 in the lower back, affecting the sciatic nerve and causing sciatic pain, which is evident by symptoms due to compression of the sciatic nerve.

Scar tissue

The presence of this tissue can cause compression of the nerve root of the sciatic nerve, causing sciatic pain to become evident.

This occurs after surgical intervention in the lower back, specifically in the lumbar region, generating the symptoms of nerve compression, in this case of the sciatic nerve.

Vertebral tumors

They are rare abnormal growths that can be benign or carcinogenic and do not occur often. It should be noted that its presence can generate sciatica due to nerve compression.

Symptoms of sciatica

Pain is the main symptom of sciatica. This can vary and ranges from:

  • Tingling or burning sensation
  • Discomfort in one leg begins in the lower back and buttocks and reaches the back of the legs.
  • It was stabbing pain or acute. It can become intense and make ambulation impossible; it only tends to calm down when the patient stretches or walks. The same pain intensifies when standing up and even when sitting down.

Sciatica treatment

The treatment of sciatica aims to relieve pain, so the doctor will be the one to prescribe the therapy after its diagnosis. Next, you will know the steps to follow:


The doctor, according to the symptoms you present, may indicate:

Corticosteroid injections

Injections in the area where the sciatic nerve root is located reduce pain by eliminating inflammation. The effect of corticosteroids lasts for a few months. These injections must be administered under medical supervision because they produce side effects if administered uncontrollably.


It is another rehabilitative treatment to follow once the pain and inflammation decrease. Through physical therapy, you can apply:

  • Heat or cold therapy.
  • Deep massages.
  • Percutaneous nerve stimulation is known as PENS.
  • Radiofrequency to take advantage of its anti-inflammatory properties.


It is an option left in the latter case, in those where the compression of the nerve causes marked weakness with loss of bowel or bladder control, which generates more significant pain and functional limitation.

How to prevent sciatica

The appearance of this alteration can be prevented as long as you put these recommendations into practice:

  • First of all, you must control your weight. It is essential to keep the body healthy.
  • Change your eating habits to maintain your weight according to your height.
  • Maintain proper posture when making an effort and if you are sitting for a long time.
  • Practice a daily physical exercise with which you can strengthen the abdomen and the muscles of the spine.

See more information and recommendations in the article Tips to improve posture.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Sciatica: causes, symptoms, and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, Joints, and Muscles.

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