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Definition Sciatica refers to pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg. It is caused by injury to or compression of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is a symptom of another medical problem, not a medical condition on its own. Alternative Names Neuropathy - sciatic nerve; Sciatic nerve dysfunction Causes, incidence, and risk factors Sciatica occurs when there is pressure or damage to the sciatic nerve. This nerve starts in the spine and runs down the back of each leg. This nerve controls the muscles of the back of the knee and lower leg and provides sensation to the back of the thigh, part of the lower leg, and the sole of the foot. Common causes of sciatica include: Piriformis syndrome (a pain disorder involving the narrow piriformis muscle in the buttocks) Slipped disk Degenerative disk disease Spinal stenosis Pelvic injury or fracture Tumors
“Sciatica” is an old world term that refers to leg pain felt down the back of the thigh into the calf and foot. What about thigh pain? What about buttock pain? Unfortunately, “sciatica” has been wrongly applied to all types and locations of leg pain. In 1948, the use of the word “sciatica” was declared “unhelpful” by a leading orthopedic specialist because it is limited to a certain location and really does not address the origin of the pain. Over the years, many older medical terms like sciatica have become archaic as the newer research technologies give doctors clearer definitions and a better understanding of the human body. Leg pain that comes from the low back is most accurately categorized as referred pain or neurogenic pain. These terms apply to all locations and address the origin of the pain. With these newer terms, the antiquated word, “sciatica”, has no place in the modern world. Sally has been waking up with right ...
Resources www.niams.nih.gov -- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases www.aaos.org -- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons www.arthritis.org -- Arthritis Foundation www.spine.org -- North American Spine Society www.apta.org -- American Physical Therapy Association www.ampainsoc.org -- American Pain Society www.theacpa.org -- American Chronic Pain Association www.iasp-pain.org -- International Association for the Study of Pain
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