Sciatica is a common type of pain affecting the sciatic nerve, a large nerve extending from the lower back down the back of each leg. The symptoms of sciatica include pain in the buttock or leg which is worse with sitting. Burning or tingling down the posterior thigh is common and in more severe cases weakness or numbness of the affected leg or foot may occur.
Sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower body. Often, the pain extends from the lower back all the way through the back of the thigh and down through the leg. Depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may also extend to the foot or toes. For some people, the pain from sciatica can be severe and debilitating. For others, the sciatica pain might be infrequent and irritating, but has the potential to get worse.
The pain from sciatica is distinctly different than the symptoms and factors affecting that seen in venous insufficiency. Both entities may exist in the same patient, so the challenge is in determining the primary debilitating condition. A careful history and physical exam can usually make this determination reliably.
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