Sciatica or sciatica nerve pain is pain in the lower back that radiates to the hips, buttocks, legs, to the toes, namely along the path of the sciatic nerve (sciatic nerve). The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, starting from the spinal cord and branching down to the legs.

Sciatica can occur due to a pinched sciatic nerve or another disorder that causes the nerve to be injured. Sciatica can cause mild to severe pain.

Sciatica can recover with independent treatment. However, this condition can also become more serious and cause permanent nerve damage.

Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve around the pelvis is pinched or injured. This condition is generally caused by the following conditions:

  • Hernia nucleus pulposus , namely the displacement of the spinal disc from its position so that it presses on the nerves
  • Bone spurs or calcification of the bones, especially in the spinal area
  • Spinal stenosis , which is a narrowing of the nerve pathways in the spine
  • The growth of a tumor pressing on the sciatic nerve
  • Spondylolisthesis or displacement of one part of the spine from its position
  • Blockage of blood vessels
  • Piriformis syndrome , which is pinched sciatic nerve due to tension in the piriformis muscle
  • Hip fracture
  • Pregnancy

A person will also be more at risk of experiencing sciatica if they have a number of factors below:

  • Often sitting too long
  • Often lift heavy weights
  • Drive for a long time
  • Aged
  • Have a smoking habit
  • Experiencing obesity
  • Have a history of diabetes

Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica is characterized by pain and discomfort along the path of the sciatic nerve. Pain is usually only felt on one side of the body, for example back pain on the right or left.

This pain can resemble cramps accompanied by pain that feels hot or like an electric shock. These complaints will usually increase when the sufferer sits for a long time, sneezes or coughs.

Apart from pain, several other symptoms that sufferers of sciatica can also feel are:

  • Tingling that radiates from the lower back to the feet
  • Weak leg muscles
  • Numbness or numbness

When to see a doctor

In most cases, mild sciatica generally goes away on its own. However, don't hesitate to see a doctor immediately if your symptoms cannot be relieved by medication after a few weeks, or they get worse to the point of interfering with your daily activities.

Immediately go to the emergency room if you experience sciatica accompanied by some of the following symptoms or conditions:

  • Numbness or muscle weakness in the lower body
  • Symptoms of cauda equina syndrome
  • Pain occurs after a serious injury, such as a traffic accident
  • Lower back pain accompanied by fever
  • Cancer or HIV
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence

Diagnosis Sciatica

Sciatica can generally be diagnosed by reviewing the patient's symptoms and medical history, as well as a physical exam to check muscle strength and reflexes.

Follow-up tests are carried out to confirm the diagnosis as well as find out if there are other, more serious conditions, such as tumors. Some of these inspection methods include:

  • Scanning with X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs to detect disorders that are pressing on the spinal cord
  • Electromyography (EMG), to measure the electrical impulses conducted by the nerves and the response from the muscles

Sciatica Treatment

Most cases of sciatica can recover without needing treatment from a doctor. Independent treatment can be done at home by:

  • Rest the body for about 3 days and lie a lot on a mattress that is not too soft
  • Compress the area that hurts with warm or cold compresses, to relieve pain
  • Perform lower back stretching exercises to relieve pressure on the nerves and reduce symptoms
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as paracetamol

If the methods above don't help with sciatica symptoms, then check with your doctor. The doctor will recommend several medical treatment options below:


Physiotherapy aims to reduce pressure on the back nerves, with physical exercises in the form of stretching or aerobics. This therapy can also help improve posture, strengthen the lower back muscles, and increase body flexibility.

O medicine _

Medications that are generally prescribed by doctors include:

  • Anti-inflammatory drug
  • Muscle relaxants, such as diazepam  or  chlorzoxazone
  • Anti-seizure medications, such as gabapentin and pregabalin
  • Antidepressant drugs , such as amitriptyline

Corticosteroid injection

Anti- inflammatory injections, such as corticosteroids , can be given to relieve pain and inflammation around the affected nerves. However, giving injections will usually be limited because of the risk of serious side effects.


Surgical procedures will be recommended if other treatment methods are not successful or a more serious condition occurs, such as pain that gets worse and does not go away, is unable to control urination (urinary incontinence), fecal incontinence , or when the movement of the affected body muscles gets weaker.

Surgery aims to remove bone growths, treat pinched nerves, or treat other conditions that put pressure on the spinal cord. The surgery that is usually performed is spinal surgery .

Sciatica Complications

In conditions that are quite severe, sciatica has the potential to cause complications due to nerve damage. Complications that can arise are chronic pain, permanent numbness, disturbances when urinating (BAK) or large (BAB), and paralysis .

Sciatica Prevention

Here are some ways you can do to prevent sciatica:

  • Exercise regularly, especially exercises that strengthen the abdominal and pelvic muscles, such as swimming
  • Maintain good posture when standing, sitting and sleeping
  • Be careful when moving your body, especially when lifting heavy weights
  • Avoid standing or sitting for too long
  • Avoid using high heels
  • Maintain an ideal weight
  • Stop smoking

If you are obese or diabetic, talk to your doctor about a healthy weight loss program and treatment for diabetes. With these two risk factors controlled, the possibility of sciatica will decrease.

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