Low back pain, sciatica, sprain strain lumbar spine

Sciatica, also known as lumbar radiculopathy, is a symptom of a problem with the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body and the primary nerve of the leg. The sciatic nerve controls muscles in the back of the knee and lower leg and provides feeling to the back of the thigh, part of the lower leg, and the sole of the foot. Sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower body. Sciatica can occur suddenly or it can develop gradually. It may start in the lower back and extend down the leg to the calf, foot, or even toes. Sciatica consists of pain, weakness, tingling or numbness, which might feel like a bad cramp, or it can be excruciating, shooting pain that makes standing or sitting nearly impossible. The pain might be worse when sitting, sneezing, or coughing. For some people, the pain from sciatica can be severe and debilitating, while for others it may be infrequent and irritating, but has the potential to get worse.

Diagnostic procedures for sciatica may include a complete medical history and physical examination, x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and electromyography/nerve conduction study (EMG/NCS). The symptoms of sciatica may resemble other conditions or medical problems, so one should always consult a physician for a diagnosis.

[depiction of low back pain, burning, numbness, tingling, radiating pain, sciatica caused by low back injury]

While there are many causes of sciatica, it is most commonly caused by a herniated disk in the spine that presses on the sciatic nerve. Other causes include: a ruptured intervertebral disk, lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back), an injury such as a pelvic fracture, degenerative disc disease (breakdown of discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae), spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips forward over another one), irritation of the root(s) of the lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine, and pregnancy.

Sometimes sciatica goes away on its own with time and rest. Treatment, if needed, depends on the cause of the problem and it may include exercises, medicines, and surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve. The goal of treatment is to decrease pain and increase mobility. In determining the specific treatment, a physician takes the following factors into consideration: age, overall health and medical history, extent of the disease, tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies, expectations and patient opinion and preferences.

If you develop sciatica in the work place, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney may be necessary.

If you develop low back radiating pain (aka sciatica) from a motor vehicle accident in Ohio, consult for free with an attorney at NRS Injury Law.