The sciatic nerve is a nerve that travels from the spine into the leg. This nerve is formed by six nerve roots - five of which are located in the lumbar spine. It is from these nerve roots that the nerve cord to the sciatic nerve is formed.
If one of these nerve roots is inflamed, we speak of sciatica or sciatic pain. The inflammation causes pain that radiates down the nerve cord into the leg.
Causes of sciatica
The most common cause of inflammation of the nerve root and thus of sciatic pain is a herniated disc. In a herniated disc, the nucleus of an intervertebral disc comes out, makes contact with a nerve root, and causes painful inflammation there.
But any other type of inflammation on the nerve itself can also be the cause of sciatica, for example due to Lyme disease (tick bite).
Diagnosis of sciatica - Do I now also have a herniated disc?
Due to the radiating pain, the back specialists can already localize exactly which nerve root of the sciatic nerve is inflamed on the basis of the affected area - radiation into the front thigh, back thigh, foot, outer edge of the foot or towards the big toe.
If a herniated disc is the trigger for the sciatic pain, the specialists can use the inflamed nerve root to determine at what level the herniated disc is located.
Therapy: Does sciatic pain always have to be treated?
In most cases, sciatic pain is treated simply because it is very painful. The inflammation in the nerve is one of the worst pains.
First, the inflammation is solved by conservative measures, such as injection therapy. The experienced doctors place the injection as close as possible to the herniated disc in order to have an anti-inflammatory effect. For this purpose, preparations with substance combinations of anesthetics, cortisone preparations and homeopathic remedies are applied - all with the aim of loosening the inflammation so that the nerve recovers and the pain is relieved.