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Sciatica Emedicine

Sciatica pains are the presence of severe leg pain, often of sudden onset, in the buttock and leg which is typically worse below the knee or in the foot. The cause is most commonly a disc protrusion from one of the lower lumbar segments.

The is a good review emedicine article here and more information at Wikipedia's sciatica page.

Sciatica symptoms are usually precisely described by the sufferers (unlike the vaguer pain of referred back symptoms) and include a surging, severe pain down one buttock and down the leg to the foot, with pins and needles and numbness in some cases. If the nerve compression is severe then reflex loss and loss of muscle power may occur.

Whilst lower back pain or lumbago may be present also, symptoms of sciatica can occur in the absence of back pain and even as calf or foot pain alone.

A sciatica cure is something often promised by therapies advertised in many places but remains elusive. Most cases of sciatica settle down over time and even operated cases are no different from non-operated cases after two years.

Sciatica treatment involves not interfering too much in the natural process of resolving the pain. Medication should be taken at full doses regularly as advised, activities reduced in time and effort but maintained as able, good positions maintained and poor ones avoided. Sciatica stretches are sometimes suggested but this is likely to stretch the irritated nerve and may make the symptoms worse.

Sciatica – pregnancy may be an added problem to the pregnant woman over low back pain from lumbar or sacroiliac joint pain.

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