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Sciatica (say "sye-AT-ih-kuh") is an irritation of one of the sciatic nerves, which come from the spinal cord in the lower back. The sciatic nerves and their branches extend down through the buttock to the foot. Sciatica can develop when an injured disc or arthritis in the back irritates or presses against a spinal nerve root. Its main symptom is pain, numbness, or weakness that is often worse in the leg or foot than in the back.
Sciatica often will improve and go away with time. Early treatment usually includes medicines and exercises to relieve pain.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: August 25, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Kenneth J. Koval MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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