One reason the sciatic nerve cause so much pain is because it is the longest nerve in the body. The nerve starts at the back of the pelvis and runs downward through the hip area and buttocks into each leg. Near the knee, the sciatic nerve divides into two nerves – the tibial nerve and peroneal nerve. The tibial nerve runs behind the knee and the peroneal nerve runs along the side of the calf and ankle. Through the tibial and peroneal nerves , the sciatic nerve stimulates the action of many muscles in the lower legs and enables feeling in the thigh, legs and feet.
In addition to pain, the following symptoms can also be felt, these include pins & needles, burning, numbness or muscle weakness. Such symptoms can be felt in the buttock, thighs, behind the knees, calves, ankle and sometimes the feet.
In rare cases, the cause of the sciatica may result in loss or control of bowel and/or bladder (e.g in cauda equina syndrome). This is one situation that requires urgent medical attention and potentially surgical intervention.
CAN SCIATICA BE ON BOTH SIDES?
Sciatica on both sides of the leg is rare and may occur due to degenerative changes in the vertebrae and/or the disc at several spinal levels or from serious condition as cauda equina syndrome.