Ask The Expert
December 05, 2011
Sciatica is a condition in which the sciatic nerve is irritated or injured. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that travels through the buttock and into the back of the leg. So thats usually the location of the pain. The pain often feels like a shooting or burning pain. And its often worse at night or if youre sitting on a hard surface.
Possible causes include:
In many cases, no definite cause can be found.
Exercise is recommended. But that usually means a stretching program and strengthening of core muscles in the lower back and abdomen. It would not include jogging, playing tennis or any other activities that might strain or put added pressure on the tissues surrounding the sciatic nerve.
That said, its great that youre exercising! You did not say what type of exercise you enjoy. If it doesnt cause your symptoms to get worse, the benefits of exercise may outweigh the risk of it making your sciatica worse.
Other helpful treatments for sciatica include:
Surgery is rarely necessary. In general, you should only consider it:
While exercise is generally a good thing, it is possible that your exercise program is slowing your recovery. I recommend reviewing your symptoms and your exercise routine with your doctor. It may be helpful to go for more tests or meet with a physical therapist or a sports medicine specialist.