Sciatica is a neuropathic, irritative and difficult pain to control with analgesics. It usually makes it difficult to sleep at night and it gets worse if the patient sits or coughs. Also, it causes alteration of sensation, cramps and tingling in the path of the irritated nerve and usually, it may cause loss of strength.
The sciatic nerve roots emerge from the spinal cord, traverse the lumbar and sacral vertebrae through the conjunction holes and all of them join to form the common sciatic nerve. Irritation of the sciatic nerve usually occurs at the level of the back, due to a pinching in the hole of conjunction.
Muscle contracture, lumbosacral disc degeneration, and osteoarthritis are the most frequent causes of sciatica. Others can be herniated disc, narrowing of the lumbar canal or facet syndrome.
It commonly affects middle-aged people, sedentary or with a forced posture for long periods of time. Muscle overloads, obesity or pregnancy are also related to their appearance.
In elderly patients (over 50 years), this condition is usually related to disc degeneration and osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine. In younger patients, between 20 to 50 years, it can be caused by a herniated disc.