For some people, sciatica pain can be severe and incapacitating. For others, the sciatica signs might be irregular and irritating, but have the possible to obtain worse. Low neck and back pain may be present along with the leg discomfort, but normally the leg discomfort is markedly more serious than the low neck and back pain. Patients often explain their sciatica signs as electrical shocks running down the leg, or searing or burning discomfort.
Sciatica Different in Signs
Sciatica signs vary based upon where the compressed nerve root is located. For example:
- L5 nerve root sciatica signs may encompass the big toe and ankle (called foot drop). Clients might feel discomfort or feeling numb on top of the foot, particularly on the “web” of skin in between the huge toe and 2nd toe.
- L4 nerve root sciatica signs normally affect the thigh. Patients might feel weakness in correcting the alignment of the leg, and might have a decreased knee-jerk reflex.
- S1 nerve root sciatica affects the external part of the foot, which may radiate to the little toe or toes. Patients may experience weak point when raising the heel off the ground or attempting to stand on their tiptoes. The ankle-jerk reflex may likewise be reduced.
Given that more than one nerve root might be compressed, clients may experience a mix of the above symptoms.
Distinctive Sciatica Manifestations
Typically, sciatica impacts only one side of the lower body and the pain radiates from the lower back to the back of the thigh and down the leg. Some mix of the following symptoms is most common:
- Pain that comes from the low back or buttock and continues along the path of the sciatic nerve – down the back of the thigh and into the lower leg and foot
- Continuous discomfort in only one side of the buttock or leg, but rarely in both sides
- Discomfort usually referred to as sharp or searing, rather than dull
- Discomfort that feels better when patients rest or are strolling, but aggravates when standing or sitting
- Weakness or feeling numb when moving the leg or foot
- A “pins-and-needles” feeling, feeling numb or weak point, or a prickling sensation down the leg in many cases
- Pain and other signs in the toes, depending on where the sciatic nerve is impacted
- Severe or shooting pain in one leg, making it hard to stand up or walk
- Symptoms might intensify during sudden movements, such as a sneeze or cough, or when changing positions, such as when moving from a sitting position to standing up.
- Lower pain in the back that, if experienced at all, is not as serious as leg pain
Specific signs are special depending upon the underlying cause of the sciatica. For example, bending the body backward or strolling more than a brief distance often sets off symptoms when spinal stenosis is the cause. Flexing the body forward might set off symptoms if the cause is a lumbar herniated disc.
All five nerves bundle together to form the sciatic nerve, and then branch off again within the leg to deliver motor and sensory functions to specific locations in the leg and foot.
Immediate Medical Attention
Rarely, sciatica signs that intensify rapidly may require instant surgical treatment. The following signs show a requirement for instant medical care:
- Symptoms that continue to become worse rather than improve, which might indicate possible nerve damage, specifically if the progressive symptoms are neurological (such as leg weakness).
- Symptoms that happen in both legs (called bilateral sciatica) – or that cause bladder or bowel incontinence or dysfunction or altered feeling in the genital area or “saddle location” – may suggest cauda equina syndrome. Cauda equina syndrome is an intense compression of one or a number of nerve roots that happens relatively seldom (in around 2% of herniated lumbar disc cases) and can cause paralysis.
Sciatica that occurs after a mishap or trauma, or if it establishes in tandem with other troubling signs like fever or loss of appetite, is also cause for prompt medical examination. Patients must seek medical attention immediately if they feel there is cause for concern.