The spinal cord and brain comprise the Central Nervous System (CNS), from the spinal cord we have nerves that exit through the foramen of our spine to travel to different parts of our body. These nerves are known as the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS).
Sciatica occurs when there is compression of the peripheral nerves that are responsible for sensation and motor control to our lower extremities.
Sciatica is not a diagnosis but simply a symptom. The term sciatica refers to the sensation of numbness, tingling, or pain down the leg. Sciatica can be caused by different diagnoses such as disc herniations or piriformis syndrome.
What this means is that there is a single nerve or multiple nerves emerging from your lower back that have become irritated or possibly pinched. This often results in the patient suffering from pain, numbness or tingling in the specific area of your leg that is supplied by the irritated nerve.
The term "Sciatica" is often used to describe this condition because most (but not all) "lumbar radiculopathies" cases impact or involve the sciatic nerve which supplies the back & outside of your thigh and calf. Symptoms of lumbar radiculopathy can be varied but most suffer from some form of a dull ache to a constant severe sharp shooting pain. In some cases, you may find that your symptoms are aggravated by certain positions or movements.
It is important for you to follow your treatment plan closely and always to be sure to tell us immediately if you experience any progression of your leg pain, numbness or weakness.