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Sciatica is the name given to any sort of pain that is caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. There are two types, acute and persistent (chronic).
Symptoms of sciatica
Sciatic pain can range from being mild to very painful and may last just a few days or for months. If it lasts for more than six weeks, it is considered to be persistent (chronic) sciatica.
Causes of sciatica
Sciatica is caused by irritation or damage to the sciatic nerve. A slipped (or herniated) disc is the most common identified cause of sciatica.
Diagnosing sciatica
If the symptoms of sciatica are mild and last no longer than six weeks, a medical diagnosis is not usually needed. See your GP if the pain continues for longer.
Treating sciatica
Most cases of acute sciatica can be treated at home with painkillers. Chronic sciatica usually requires a combination of self-help techniques and medical treatment.
Preventing sciatica
Although it is not always possible to prevent sciatica, there are several things you can do to help prevent a slipped disc or other back injuries that cause sciatica.
'I used to wake up five times in the night with aching pain'
Robert's sciatica caused him intense pain in his right leg. He describes how the condition affected his life and mobility and what treatment options were