Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve — which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.
Sciatica is typically caused when there is compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve anywhere along its course. The sciatic nerve pierces the piriformis muscle in some patients, and overuse/stress of this muscle may flare sciatic symptoms.
Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. You may feel the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it’s especially likely to follow a path from your low back to your buttock and the back of your thigh and calf.
The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating discomfort. Sometimes it may feel like a jolt or electric shock. It may be worse when you cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms. Usually only one side of your body is affected.
Some people also experience numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. You may have pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another.
Procedural options are targeted to where the nerve is compressed. “Hydrodissection” can be used to free up the nerve from adhesions or minor muscular entrapment. With this procedure, saline is injected around the nerve under ultrasound.