Sciatic nerve pain, commonly known as sciatica, refers to pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve branching from the lower back down the hips and buttocks. In most cases, sciatica only affects one side of the body.
The pain can vary from a mild ache, burning sensation, sharp pain, or an electric shock-like pain. It may be worsened by a cough or sneeze. There may also be weakness and paresthesia in the affected limb. Sciatic nerve pain usually occurs when there is compression of the sciatic nerve by an underlying cause.
While the pain is severe, most cases usually resolve on their own within a few weeks. However, those with leg weakness or issues with the bladder and bowel may require surgery. Prevention includes regular exercise and maintaining a proper posture.
Cause #1: Age
Sciatic nerve pain is much more prevalent among those with advanced ages. Age-related changes such as bone spurs and herniated discs are common causes of sciatica. While the occurrence varies, highest estimates show that it affects about 40 percent of individuals at some point in life.
Since the discs degenerate with time, advancing age also means that there is a higher risk of sciatica. Most individuals who get sciatic nerve pain or sciatica are between the ages of 30 to 50 years old.