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  • Writer's picturePietro D'Urso

What is Sciatica?

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed or irritated; this nerve runs from the lower back, through the buttocks, down to the feet. Many people will see symptoms go within 4-6 weeks however in some cases this can last longer. It is important to note that if you are experiencing back pain it is not a definite sign that you have sciatica.

Symptoms of sciatica can be felt in the bottom, back of the legs and feet (usually down one side); this can include:

  • Stabbing, burning or shooting pains

  • Pins and needles

  • Numbness

  • Weakness

The symptoms are usually more noticeable when doing activates such as walking or sneezing and coughing. Some people will also experience pain in their lower back; however, it is common that the lower limb pain is more significant.

Sciatica can be caused by a number of different factors. This can include:

  • A slipped disc (most common) – when the cushioning between the bones pushes forwards

  • Spinal stenosis – Narrowing in the spine

  • Spondylolisthesis – when the bones in the spine slip out of line

  • Injury to the back

If you believe that you have sciatica it is a good idea to go and see your GP. At first it is likely that they will offer you pain medication and possibly physiotherapy to help manage the pain while the injury heals. If the symptoms do not clear up you may be referred to have localised injections or surgical procedures.

Here are some helpful tips that you can do at home to help manage the pain caused by sciatica and aid a speedy recovery.

  • Try to remain active

  • Do exercises that with help sciatica (speak to a physiotherapist about suitable exercises)

  • Use hot and cold packs in the area that is causing pain

  • Use painkillers – this can be a combination of both paracetamol and ibuprofen

  • Sleep with a cushion that supports your legs

If you are experiencing pain in both legs or have noticed a change in bladder, bowel or erectile function you must seek urgent medical care. Almost all patients will need urgent surgery.

If you would like to see Mr D’Urso about treatment for sciatica or a clear diagnosis, please contact our team via phone call or email

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.

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