Sciatica refers to pain radiating down the leg along the path of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is not caused by a pinched nerve, but in reality is caused by a torn disc which leaks onto a nerve, thus causing inflammation and pain. This is known as Leaky Disc Syndrome. Although the pain associated with sciatica can be severe, most cases resolve with just conservative treatments in a few weeks.
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.
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.
When to see a doctor
Go to your Emergency Department immediately if you experience rapidly progressing weakness of your legs or incontinence of your bowel or bladder.