Sciatica can cause a great deal of pain in the lower back and legs. Sciatica is where the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back to your feet, is irritated, inflamed, pinched or compressed. The most common cause is a herniated or slipped disk that causes pressure on the nerve root.
If you have sciatica, your bottom, back of your leg, foot and toes may feel pain (stabbing, burning or shooting), tingling/pins and needles, numbness and/or weakness. Your symptoms may be worse when moving, sneezing or coughing. You may also have back pain, but it may not be as bad as the pain in your bottom, leg or foot.
Sciatica pain can often be worsened by walking on your toes or heels, or by lying on your back and lifting your legs one at a time.
If you are experiencing the symptoms below, or are on certain medications, it is important to seek medical attention immediately:
- Bowel/bladder dysfunction (most commonly unable to pass urine).
- Worsening weakness.
- Numbness around the buttocks/anus area
- Symptoms of pain or irritation in the back and down both legs
- Incapacitating pain.
- Unrelenting night pain.
- Use of steroids or intravenous drugs.
Many people wonder how to diagnose sciatica. The best way to do this is through an MRI scan.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with sciatica, you can see your doctor for evaluation.
You can book an MRI lumbar spine directly with Vitalscan, or you can discuss with your GP, specialist or allied health professional.