Sciatica: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is the name given to any sort of pain that is caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve.The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. Sciatica pain is typically felt from the low back to behind the thigh and radiating down below the knee.

Recovery Time

  • Sciatic pain can range from being mild to very painful and may last just a few days or for months.
  • If it lasts for more than six weeks, it is considered to be persistent (chronic) sciatica.


  • Physical examination
  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1.  What is Sciatica? 
Sciatica is the classical sign of lower back pain (Lumbago) radiating to leg along the course of sciatic nerve. It is mostly unilateral and is caused by irritation of the nerve root by the bulged intervertebral disc.   

Q2.  How do I get Sciatica?
Sciatica is mostly caused by the irritation of the nerve root by bulged intervertebral disc. It is rarely caused by spinal canal stenosis or spasm of Piriformis muscle. 

Q3.  What is the treatment for Sciatica?
Sciatica is generally managed conservatively with rest and analgesics. Physiotherapy and back strengthening exercises are helpful to correct the disc prolapse. In severe cases surgery is recommended.

Q4.  How long does it take to cure?
Sciatica usually resolves within a few weeks to months of treatment and rest. 

Q5.  How do I prevent Sciatica?
You can prevent Sciatica by following proper ergonomics at work and also while sleeping. Avoid sitting and standing for long periods of time. Avoid lifting heavy weights in an improper way. Avoid being overweight. 

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