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Sciatica is the result of pressure on one of the lower nerves in your spine. This may be the result of a herniated disc, bone spur, or another factor impinging on the nerve. The out-of-place disc or bone spur puts pressure on the nerves in your lower spine, resulting in mild to severe pain in one or both lower extremities.
Typically, sciatica occurs in individuals aged 30 to 50. The wear and tear of aging as well as any abrupt pressure on the discs of the lower spine can cause sciatica.
The pain associated with sciatica ranges from that of a bad leg cramp to burning sensations or sharp, shooting pain that radiates from the buttock down the leg. This cramping or pain sometimes lasts for weeks or longer before it starts to go away and is most often felt when moving, sneezing, or coughing. Additionally, your leg can have a numb or even tingling feeling.
Around 80 to 90 percent of sciatica cases can be treated without surgery. Nonsurgical treatment options that are often recommended include steroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or aspirin, muscle relaxants, and hot or cold compresses. It is also important that you continue to be as active as possible during your recovery time.
If nonsurgical treatment options fail to work for you, surgery may be recommended. A specialty-trained spine surgeon can work with you to determine which surgical treatment option is right for you.