Sciatica is pain felt in one or both of the legs as a result of pressure on or injury to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve stretches from our lower spine and travels down our legs. It is a central nerve that controls muscles in our lower legs as well as muscles located behind the knees. This nerve also provides sensation behind our thighs, parts of our lower legs, and also the soles of our feet. The sciatic nerve can become pinched or injured due to a slipped disc, muscle problems in the buttocks, or a pelvic injury.
Depending upon where and how severely the sciatica nerve is injured, the symptoms of sciatica can vary greatly. Symptoms usually include pain, numbness, a tingling sensation, or a burning sensation in one or both legs. When the condition is at its worst, the pain of sciatica may make it extremely difficult to move the legs at all. Pain usually occurs only on one side and is usually worse at night, when walking or bending backwards, or after standing or sitting for long periods of time.
You can help achieve sciatica pain relief with heat or ice on the painful area. Light exercises and pain medication may also help reduce the symptoms temporarily. If your sciatica pain persists, surgery may be recommended.