Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How severe is sciatica pain?"
Can it get really bad? I've just been diagnosed and want to know if things will get worse.
I am sorry to hear that you are having sciatic nerve pain. "Sciatica" is often a generic term that is used to describe any condition in the back (muscle spasm, bulging disc, pinched nerve) that causes symptoms in the sciatic nerve, which is the large nerve running down from the buttocks into the legs. Symptoms of sciatica typically include lower back pain or spasm, and pain and numbness or tingling running down into the leg. In more severe cases, the pain or numbness may extend below the knee. You should let your doctor know if the pain or numbness are getting worse of if you start to have significant weakness in the leg, as these are signs of worsening. Typically sciatica will improve with rest and with anti inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naprosyn, although the improvement is usually gradual and may take weeks to really get better. In the meantime, it is best to try to stay as active as able, as studies show that staying active helps you get better from the pain more quickly. Please talk to your doctor for some basic back stretching and strengthening exercises which will help to prevent future attacks.
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