7 Signs you may have sciatica

woman clutching thigh

Sciatica is the name for pain along the sciatic nerve – the longest, largest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve arises in the spine, passes through the buttock and then travels down the leg. You have a separate sciatic nerve in each leg. 

Here are 7 signs that indicate you may have sciatica: 

1. The pain is limited to the buttock and leg on one side of your body only. 

2. You have pain or numbness deep within one of your buttocks. 

3. You have lower back pain. 

4. You have nerve tingling, pins and needles or an electric shock down one leg sometimes. 

5. The pain is a sharp prickling, burning or tingling, rather than a dull ache. 

6. You have weakness in the affected leg, e.g. your leg gives way when you stand up from sitting sometimes. 

7. The pain is worse when sitting or standing, but better when lying down. 

Mild sciatica normally goes away after a few days. If you have back pain like sciatica that doesn’t go away after a few days, you should visit your doctor for advice. If you have noticeable weakness in the leg, you lose control of your bladder or bowel, or if you find you can’t go to the toilet, you should see a doctor immediately.

If you have sudden pain after an accident, such as a gardening injury or a car accident, or if the pain is relentless and persists through the night, you should also see your doctor immediately. 

Find out more about Sciatica symptoms, causes and diagnosis and Sciatica treatment.

Last Reviewed: 21 April 2016
myDr

myDr

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