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Sciatica (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

Call a doctor if any of the following conditions occur:

  • The pain is not improving after several days or seems to be getting worse.
  • If someone is younger than 20 years of age or older than 55 years of age and is having sciatica for the first time
  • The affected individual presently has cancer or has a history of cancer.
  • The affected individual has lost a large amount of weight recently or has unexplained chills and fever with back pain.
  • The affected individual is HIV positive or uses IV drugs.
  • Someone has trouble bending forward after more than a week or two.
  • The affected individual notices weakness is getting more pronounced over time.

Go to a hospital's emergency department if any of the following occur along with sciatica.

  • The pain is unbearable, despite trying first aid methods.
  • The pain follows a violent injury, such as a fall from a ladder or an automobile crash.
  • The pain is in the back of the chest.
  • The affected individual is unable to move or feel his or her legs or feet.
  • The affected individual loses control of his or her bowels or bladder or has numbness in his or her genitals. These may be symptoms of cauda equina syndrome (a serious nervous system condition caused by damage to the nerves at the end of the spinal canal).
  • The affected individual has a high temperature (over 101 F).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/24/2015

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