Sciatica is low back pain that can radiate down the buttock, thigh, or calf. It feels like an electric shock and is often worse when sitting for extended periods. The symptoms typically affect one side of the body, but they can sometimes occur on both sides.
Can You Have Sciatica On Both Sides At The Same Time?
Sciatica pain rarely affects both sides of the body at once. Instead, it occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed somewhere along its course.
The type and severity of the pain depend on where the compression occurs. The condition can significantly affect a person’s quality and make everyday tasks difficult or impossible. While sciatica often clears up, the pain can worsen if it is not treated.
The condition is a common cause of pain in the lower legs. Symptoms can include numbness, tingling, and weakness in one or both legs. The pain is usually located along the sciatic nerve, which travels from the lower back through the buttocks and legs. In some people, sciatica pain may be so intense that it extends into the foot or toes.
What Can Be Mistaken For Sciatica?
Initially, sciatica was thought to be a condition resulting from pressure on the sciatic nerve. However, a cluneal nerve entrapment can cause similar symptoms and pose a diagnostic challenge. In this case, the physician will examine the sciatic nerve and perform a sciatic nerve compression test. This will help the physician determine where the pressure is located and if it is the cause of the sciatic pain.
Another common cause of sciatic pain is a tumor or a benign cyst in the spine. A patient who experiences sciatic pain at night or during rest should get a complete assessment with imaging studies to rule out cancer.
Can Sciatica Pain Move From Side To Side?
Sciatica is a common condition that can be very painful. The symptoms usually originate in the low back and radiate down one leg. It can vary in intensity, from a dull ache to sharp pain, and may be accompanied by numbness or tingling in the affected leg. It can also be extremely uncomfortable to walk or stand. The symptoms may worsen when you bend your knee or flex your foot.
One of the most common causes of sciatica is a herniated disk. Discs are cushions between the vertebrae in the spine, and as they age, they become brittle and more prone to injury. A herniated disk can rupture and cause the gel-like center to push through its outer lining, pressing on the roots of the sciatic nerve.
It’s estimated that one in every 50 people will experience a herniated disk at some point. About 25% of them will experience symptoms lasting six weeks or more.
What Are The Symptoms Of Bilateral Sciatica?
Bilateral sciatica is a condition in which patients experience pain on both sides of their lower back. The pain is often radicular, with a burning sensation deep in the buttocks. In severe cases, pain may also interfere with bladder control. The diagnosis is made through history and medical examination, which an MRI may confirm. The objective of treatment is to provide long-term pain relief.
Pain in the back is often worse when sitting or standing. Attempting to twist or bend your back may also aggravate the pain. The pain may be constant or increase during sleep. Try lying on your back with your knees elevated with pillows to alleviate the pain. You may also try using a heat pack or pelvic exercises.
Is Bilateral Sciatica Serious?
Bilateral sciatica is a common ailment in the lower back, legs, and cauda equina. The pain may be sporadic or chronic and is accompanied by numbness, tingling, or weakness. It usually originates in the sciatic nerve, which exits the lumbar spine and runs down the length of both legs.
Nonsurgical treatments for sciatica include rest and physical therapy. For more severe cases, spinal decompression surgery may be necessary. However, nonsurgical treatments should be tried first.
For instance, cold packs, stretching, and mild aerobic exercises may help relieve sciatic pain and help patients return to normal activities. Medications can also help ease the pain and make daily activities easier.
In severe cases, corticosteroids and epidural steroid injections may be recommended.
Sciatica is often caused by lumbar radiculopathy due to a herniated disk, while piriformis syndrome is a neuromuscular condition. Sciatic nerve pain is characterized by the following symptoms: A pain in one side of the lower back, buttock, or leg.
The nerve can arise from five different locations and exits through the buttocks, so the relationship between the piriformis muscle and the sciatic nerve will differ in each patient. Sciatic pain originates somewhere in the sciatic nerve, which emerges from the lumbar region of the spinal cord and, being the longest nerve in the body, runs down the entire length of both legs.
Commonly, the cause of piriformis syndrome is directly related to the location of the piriformis muscle and the sciatic nerve. Over time, this can contribute to the onset of sciatica symptoms if left unaddressed. Some factors that can lead to narrowing include the thickening of ligaments in the spine, spinal infections, growths, bone spurs, or herniated discs. Muscle relaxants are also commonly prescribed for nerve pain.
Bilateral sciatica may also be a sign that the compression is, in fact, in the cauda equina nerve roots. Targeting the piriformis muscle can be of particular benefit for sciatica sufferers. It’s important to seek medical help when you have sudden or severe pain in your lower back or leg, numbness, or muscle weakness.
Doctor Osvaldo Pepa, Neurosurgery Service Physician at Hospital San Martin, La Plata, Argentina. I graduated last November 16, 1984 with a Medical Degree at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata. The Medical Board of La Plata, District 1, licensed me as a Neurosurgeon in 1990. I hold a Provincial and National License and an active member of the Neurosurgery Society of La Plata, World Ozone Therapy Federation, and Inter American Society of Minimally Invasive Surgery.