Can sciatica be bilateral?
Can sciatica affect both legs? Doctors call this condition bilateral sciatica, which refers to a condition that causes pain and discomfort in both legs at the same time.
According to doctors, bilateral sciatica is a rare condition and is often seen in people with extensive degenerative disorders of the spine, that is, people with both legs suffering from sciatica at the same time. In most cases, there were advanced osteoarthritis and extensive degenerative problems in their spine that caused bilateral sciatica.
In addition to the above, bilateral sciatica or the coexistence of bilateral symptoms of inflammation and pressure on the sciatic nerve can also be seen in people whose intervertebral discs are involved at different levels.
People who have a very serious condition called cauda equina also show signs of sciatica in both legs.
It is the largest, thickest and longest nerve cord in the human body and is unfortunately a nerve that has the potential to produce common pain and discomfort in humans.
This nerve starts from the lower part of the spine, ie by joining a number of delicate nerve fibers that come out in pairs from the bottom right and left of each vertebral disc, on each side of the spine, the main sciatic trunk is formed.
This nerve travels downward from the back or, in some cases, through the pear-shaped muscle called the piriformis muscle, which is deep and posterior to the pelvis, moves downward, providing a sense of movement in the buttocks, back of the thigh, and back of the knee. At the back of the knee, it splits into branches that move downward again, providing sensory movement to the muscles of the back of the leg, heel, sole, and under the toes.
If the roots of the spinal nerves or the trunk of the sciatic nerve are pressed, the injury and inflammation of the nerves present with well-known clinical signs. Sciatica is also called lower back radiculopathy.
Sciatica and its symptoms
It is a shooting pain that shoots from the lower back to the back of the pelvis, behind the thighs and behind the legs.
Sometimes classic sciatic pain does not occur and the person feels pain in one toe, for example.
- numbness in the path of pain
- Sometimes a vague pain in the buttocks
- Tingling in the path of pain
- Weakness of the muscles of the pain path
- Muscle heaviness in the back of the leg
And with the progression and inflammation of the nerves, the thinning of the muscles of the pain pathway occurs.
Most of the time the pain and the above symptoms are one-sided. Sciatica pain is exacerbated and, in some patients, it is debilitating.
Sciatica is exacerbated by sneezing, coughing, and walking.
Pain in the acute phase can be very high. Over time, inflammation of the nerves and pain subsides. This process lasts four to eight weeks.
Causes related to the skeletal system:
- Degenerative changes of the vertebrae, osteoarthritis, Osteoarthritis of the spine
- Disc protrusion
- Rupture of the disc herniation between the vertebrae
- Fractures of the lower vertebrae of the spine
- Slipping of the vertebrae of the spine
- Vertebral malignancies
- Early vertebral tumors
- Bone tuberculosis
- Spasm of muscles adjacent to the spine
- Piriformis syndrome
- Spinal canal stenosis
- Intracanal tumors
The most common cause of sciatica in young people is disc problems and in the elderly degenerative changes of the spine.
In very rare cases, the sign of sciatica may affect both legs.
There is a sharp pain of paresthesia or tingling in the legs, which is painful. There is also pain when sitting, walking and standing.
We said that bilateral sciatica may occur in the following three groups:
- People with extensive degenerative spinal changes
- People who have spinal disc injuries and problems in different levels.
- People with cauda equina syndrome
In cases where there are progressive bilateral symptoms, ie:
Bilateral neurological defects in both legs, such as excessive motor weakness with knee extension
Existence of urinary incontinence
Existence of fecal incontinence
These are very serious symptoms that indicate the severity of the damage and will often be irreversible.