(1) Worsening neurological symptoms

Severe damage to your sciatic nerve roots can cause progressive neurological symptoms and requires immediate treatment.

The symptoms may affect one or both legs and typically include the following:

  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Tingling
  • Abnormal sensations, such as crawling
  • An abnormally increased sensitivity to pain (hyperalgesia)

It is also possible for the symptoms to occur only below the knee without involving the entire limb. While these symptoms may not warrant surgery, some form of immediate medical treatment is usually needed.

(2) Changes in bowel and/or bladder control

Consult your doctor immediately if you have any sudden, unexplained changes in your bowel and/or bladder control. These changes may include:

  • An inability to control your bowel and/or bladder movements.
  • Difficulty in passing urine, a reduced urinary sensation, a loss of desire to pass urine, or a poor stream.

These 2 symptoms above indicate a rare, but serious medical condition called cauda equina syndrome. Cauda equina syndrome can occur suddenly or gradually and typically requires immediate surgery to control the symptoms. If patients with cauda equina syndrome do not receive prompt treatment, it can result in difficulty in walking and/or other neurological problems, including lower-body paralysis. Doctors advise treating this condition within 24 to 48 hours of symptom occurrence to preserve lower limb function.


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