Lumbar Radiculopathy is a term also used for the clinical diagnosis of sciatica. There are different disorders in the lower back or the lumbar region that may be the cause of sciatica. When a disc has protruded in the vertebral column, it will put pressure on the nerve root or radicular nerve. The radicular nerve or nerve root in the lower back forms part of the sciatic nerve and pressure or damage in this area produces sciatica symptoms.
The sciatic nerve runs down the back of the legs from the spine controlling the muscles of the back of the knee, the lower leg up to the soles of the feet. So with sciatica, radiating pain maybe felt from the lumbar or lower spine, passing down to the buttocks down to the legs. The pain and discomfort might be anywhere along the pathway of the sciatic nerve, but most people complain of pain at the back of the thigh and calf.
Cases of sciatic pain varies widely from mild aches to sharp discomfort to excruciating pain and can be felt for weeks or months. It is termed chronic or persistent sciatica when it is felt for more than six weeks. Because the sciatic nerve is located from the lumbar area to the lower extremities, the sciatica symptoms are felt anywhere from the hips to the legs and feet.
Pain is the most common symptom of sciatica. Some people may describe a pain that is deep and severe starting low at the back on one side, shooting down to the leg when moving about.Some people may complain of a pain on one side of the buttock that gets worse and starts to throb when sitting.
Muscle weakness and loss of tendon reflexes are noticed by persons suffering from sciatica. Other types of sciatica symptoms are burning or tingling sensations down the leg, weak sensation and numbness or some difficulty encountered when moving the leg or the foot, or a constant pain or very sharp pain that makes it difficult for a person to move about.
Some cases reports pain in one part of the leg, and numbness in another part. The pins-and-needles feeling also occurs to sciatica sufferers, accompanied by tingling of the toes. Hip pain is also attributable to sciatica. Sciatica pain gets worse with prolonged standing and sitting in some cases. This pain is sometimes made worse when sitting very low, a person have to stand.
Sometimes coughing, sneezing, or laughing aggravates the pain. Constipation and hard bowel movements, or bending forwards or backwards can worsen the pain.
Cauda equine syndrome is the loss of bladder or bowel control attributable to inflammation or nerve compression of the nerves in the lower portion of the spinal canal and may require emergency care.
Weakness in the leg or foot, with numbing pain is also associated with sciatica. This weakness, when in its worst case may immobilize the foot.
Sciatica pain should not be confused with general back pain. Sciatica symptoms are hardly felt at the upper back, but starts from the lower back down to the calf. Except in cases of cauda equine syndrome, sciatica symptoms may go away on its own after prolonged rest and limited physical exertions.
If the pain lasts more than six weeks, a doctor should be consulted and tests should be performed to determine the root cause of the problem.