Sciatica is a set of symptoms including pain that may be caused by general compression or irritation of one of five spinal nerves which form the sciatic nerve. Pain is felt in the lower back, buttock or various parts of the leg and foot. In addition to pain, which can be severe, there may also be numbness, muscular weakness, pins and needles or tingling and difficulty in moving or controlling the leg. Typically, the symptoms are only felt on one side of the body.
Although sciatica is a relatively common form of low back and leg pain, the true meaning of the term is often misunderstood. Sciatica is a set of symptoms rather than a diagnosis for what is irritating the root of the nerve, causing the pain.
- A cramping sensation of the thigh
- Shooting pains from the buttock, down the leg
- Tingling, or pins-and-needles sensations in the legs and thighs
- A burning sensation in the thigh
Vertebral Instability is abnormal movement between a bone in the spine and the one next to it. As a disc degenerates it loses tension which allows the disc to bulge and permits increasing movements to take place between the vertebrae. The loss of disc height causes the joints in the back to displace and override beyond their correct normal alignment. This overriding and abnormal slipping of the joints causes increased wear and tear and the production of bone spurs around the joint.
- Catching pain when standing from sitting position
- Sudden pain when bending forward or backwards
- Pain on lifting
- Spasm in back muscles
Spondylolysis is a defect of a vertebra. It is typically caused by stress fracture of the bone, and is especially common in adolescents who overtrain in activities such as rowing, tennis, diving, martial arts, cricket pace bowlers and gymnastics.
- Lower back pain that is worsened with activity
- Lower back pain that is worsened with bending back of the spine