Sciatica Pain

Sciatica is a common form of lower back and leg pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve.  The sciatic nerve runs from each side of the lower spine.  It connects the spinal cord to the muscles in the leg and foot.

In some cases, the sciatica pain is severe. For others, it may be sporadic and mild enough to be just irritating.  The potential for it to worsen remains. The pain in the leg is much worse than the back pain. Depending on which section of the sciatic nerve is afflicted, it may spread into the foot or toes.

The primary causes of sciatica are pressure on the sciatic nerve caused by a herniated disc, which can be treated at the Pain & Spine Institute. The condition is frequently diagnosed as “radiculopathy,” which means that a disc has protruded from its usual place in the spinal column and is pressing on the radicular nerve. If you’re experiencing sciatica pain, schedule a consultation with the Pain & Spine Institute in Chicago!

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Sciatica - person holding back in pain

Symptoms of Sciatica Pain

Sciatica can cause the following symptoms:

  • Buttock or leg pain that worsens when sitting

  • Tingling and burning sensations spreading down the legs

  • Leg or foot weakness, numbness, or trouble moving

  • A persistent soreness on one side of the buttocks

  • A shooting discomfort that makes standing difficult.

Sciatica can be excruciatingly painful; however, permanent nerve damage is not common.  Pain caused by inflammation tends to go away after around two weeks to a few months, and because the spinal cord doesn’t exist in the lower spine, a herniated disc in this area presents no danger of paralysis.

Most sciatica cases will improve with time and careful treatment. Some sciatica symptoms, however, may suggest a potentially serious nerve injury:

If the leg has become weak, the nerve may have been injured. In the case of nerve injury, it is critical to get medical help. Surgery may be necessary if the nerve is crushed and the pain and symptoms are severe.

Experiencing bowel or bladder incontinence (the inability to control the bowel or bladder) or loss of sensation in the legs are signs that the condition could be dangerous and should be looked into immediately.

Sciatica - person holding leg in pain on bed


Sciatica is a symptom, not a medical condition. The term indicates that a patient is experiencing pain down the leg due to sciatic nerve compression. What is causing the compression is determined through the diagnostic (such as a disc herniation or spinal stenosis). The great majority of sciatic crises resolve on their own in 6 to 12 weeks. If the condition does not improve on its own, patients can consider numerous treatment options. Contact our Chicago pain clinic, the Pain & Spine Institute, today!

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