The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back through the hips and splits to run down each leg. When a person experiences symptoms of radiating pain along the path of this important nerve, that is called sciatica. Most often, sciatica presents on one side of the body.
What does sciatica feel like?
Sciatica is the term used when a person has leg pain, a tingling sensation in the leg, numbness, or weakness in the leg. If you’re feeling constant pain in only one side of the buttock or leg, that is likely sciatica. Pain may also worsen when sitting.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica can be caused by a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and spondylolisthesis. The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back, through the buttock, down each leg. Portions of the nerve then branch out to the thigh, calf, foot, toes, etc. When any condition irritates this nerve, it can result in sciatic symptoms. For example, with lumbar disc herniation, spinal disc material may leak out and affect or pinch the sciatic nerve.
Can Physical Therapy Help?
Exercises that work to improve spinal column strength and supporting muscles, ligaments, and tendons, can be effective at alleviating sciatica symptoms. Strengthening abdominal muscles can also help keep the spine aligned properly.