Sciatic Syndrome - Symptoms and Diagnosis

What symptoms does the disease show?

Typical is the pain of the nerves (sciatica), which - in contrast to the local back pain - is felt throughout the entire course of the sciatic nerve, ie radiating from the lumbar region into the buttocks to the outer and back of the affected leg and to the foot. Often the pain in the leg is worse than in the back. He can suddenly "shoot in", wave-like ascend and descend or even - mostly pulling - last. As a result of the pain at the nerve exit site, the surrounding muscles cramp beside the spine, which aggravates the pain and leads to a restraint, usually with sideways bending of the trunk.

Numbness and tingling as more symptoms

In addition to the pain it can come in by the nerve irritation in the affected supply areas to information loss and thus to corresponding failures: numbness, tingling such as ants, increased sensitivity and burning or muscle weakness to paralysis.

Often, certain activities or postures aggravate the discomfort: for example, leaning forward with stretched legs to the tips of the toes or raising the stretched leg in the supine position causes the sciatic nerve to stretch and thus hurts (Lasègue sign). This phenomenon is exploited by the doctor during the examination. Even coughing or sneezing, sitting or standing can aggravate the pain, but walking often improves it.

The following symptoms indicate an emergency requiring surgery as a result of nerve crushing (compression):

  • Numbness between the legs
  • new disorders of bladder or rectal function (urinary drip, faecal incontinence)

You should immediately consult a specialist!

How is the diagnosis made?

Often the symptoms and the spread of the symptoms and the results of the physical examination are already so typical that the doctor can easily diagnose them. However, the severity of the pain and the severity of the symptoms do not indicate the cause. Depending on the case, further examinations follow, eg computer or magnetic resonance tomography.

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