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Sciatica (cont.)

Sciatica Risk Factors

  • Age-related changes in the spine, such as arthritis and degenerating discs, are a risk factor for sciatica.
  • Obesity: Excess weight, especially in the abdomen, increases the stress on the spine.
  • Prolonged sitting and a sedentary lifestyle are risk factors for sciatica and other back problems.

Sciatica Symptoms

The most common symptom from sciatica is pain. Most people describe a deep, severe pain that starts low on one side of the back and then shoots down the buttock and the leg with certain movements. Sciatica can also cause hip pain and foot pain.

  • The pain is usually worse with both prolonged sitting and standing. Frequently, the pain is made worse by standing from a low sitting position, such as standing up after sitting on a toilet seat.
  • In most people, the pain is made worse by sneezing, coughing, laughing, or a hard bowel movement. Bending backward can also make the pain worse.
  • People may also notice a weakness in their leg or foot, along with the pain. The weakness may become so bad they can't move their foot.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/24/2015

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