Your sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in your body. It begins in your lower back as five smaller nerves joining together and extends to your pelvis, thigh, knee, calf, ankle, foot and toes.
What is Sciatica?
When this large nerve becomes inflamed the condition is called sciatica and the pain can be intense! The pain may follow the path of your nerve – down the back of your legs and thighs, down to your ankle, foot and toes – but it can also radiate to your back!
Along with pain there may be burning, pins and needles, tingling, prickling, crawling sensations or tenderness. Ironically, the leg may also feel numb!
To complicate matters, although sciatica pain is usually in the back of the legs or thighs, in some people it can be in the front or side of the legs or even in the hips. For some, the pain is in both legs: bilateral sciatica!
Like a Knife
The quality of the pain may vary. There may be constant throbbing but then it may let up for hours or even days, it may ache or be knife-like. Sometimes postural changes, like lying down or changing positions, affect the pain and sometimes they don't. In severe cases, sciatica can cause a loss of reflexes or even a wasting of calf muscles. For sciatic sufferers, a good night's sleep may be a thing of the past.
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