What Does Sciatica Feel Like and What Are the Signs?


Quick Answer

Sciatica is painful and occurs alongside other symptoms such as numbness, tingling or weakness in the leg, explains MedlinePlus. The signs include a burning sensation down the leg, pain in the leg that worsens when sitting, weakness, a shooting pain that makes standing difficult and continuous pain on one side of the body, according to WebMD.

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Full Answer

Sciatica is a common pain that affects the sciatic nerve, which extends from the lower back all the way to the leg, states Mayo Clinic. It tends to occur on only one side of the body when spinal stenosis, a bone spur or a herniated disk presses against part of the sciatic nerve, resulting in pain and inflammation in the affected leg. Most cases clear up with nonoperative treatment options within a few weeks, but some cases can be severe.

In most cases, sciatica occurs due to other health conditions, so treating the underlying cause helps to relieve the pain, notes MedlinePlus. In other cases, a patient may not require treatment as the condition clears up on its own. Applying ice or heat helps to relieve the pain. Taking over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen, is also helpful. Doctors recommend bed rest, reducing normal activities for a few days and avoiding heavy lifting.

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