Sciatica is pain, burning and/or tingling feeling in the lower back, buttocks, and down the leg along the path of the sciatic nerve, usually occurring on just one side of the lower body. It is caused by irritation of the nerves coming from the lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine.
Causes of sciatica may be degeneration of discs between the vertebrae in the lumbar spine, slippage of one vertebra over another, or narrowing of the spinal canal of the lower back. Pregnancy, overweight or muscle spasms can increase the level of pain.
Your doctor will recommend over-the-counter pain medications or prescribe muscle relaxants or other pain medications as needed. Physical therapy is usually recommended. In some cases, the doctor may recommend that a steroidal or anesthetic medication be injected around the spinal nerve. If the pain and irritation do not respond to initial treatment, other forms of therapy are available and may be offered by your doctor. They include electrical nerve stimulation, electrothermal therapy, and alternative therapies like acupuncture.
If pain persists for more than six weeks, your doctor may suggest surgery. An orthopedic surgeon will help determine the type of surgery that would be appropriate, depending on the underlying cause of the pain.