Sciatica is a term used to describe the symptoms of leg pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness that travel down the low back via the sciatic nerve in the back of the leg. Sciatica (sometimes known as radiculopathy) is a description of symptoms, not a diagnosis. A herniated disc, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and spondylolisthesis can all cause sciatica.

The 2 most common symptoms of sciatica are leg pain and altered sensation. Additionally, leg weakness may also be present.

NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen; oral steroids, such as prednisone; and anticonvulsant medications, such as gabapentin are commonly used to treat sciatica.

Medical emergencies can arise when the spinal cord and/or the cauda equina are injured. The symptoms can mimic sciatica and may lead to lower limb dysfunction if left untreated.

What does piriformis syndrome feel like? The symptoms of piriformis syndrome may range from mild discomfort to severe, debilitating pain in the buttock. Piriformis syndrome symptoms may remain constant throughout the day or flare with physical activities that include movements of the hip and legs, such as sitting, walking, climbing stairs, and twisting.

Sciatica may cause different types of pain in the thigh, leg, and foot. The pain may be accompanied by neurological symptoms such as numbness, weakness, and/or other altered sensations in the affected regions.

Find a Physician Near You

Search for a Doctor