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Video transcription

Hello, I'm Alex Mauskop. I'm a Neurologist here in New York City, and I'm the director of The New York Headache Center. Sciatic nerve is the thickest biggest nerve in your body. It starts in the lower spinal cord. It's formed from several nerve roots that combine into the sciatic nerve that runs in the back of your of your buttock actually and down the back of your leg, and sciatic nerve can be compressed, most often by a spasm of muscles. Now, there are also other reasons such as a herniated disk that comes out between the lumbar vertebrae. That disk usually causes one root compression not the entire sciatic nerve but pain is felt the same way. That is, pain down the leg, the back of your leg all the way down to the foot sometimes from compression of the sciatic nerve. But again, the most common cause is muscle spasm in your buttock or deeper inside, and constriction of that nerve, and pain radiates up and down the leg. And the treatment often is very effective; physical therapy, heat, muscle relaxants, painkillers, and by all means avoid surgery. Surgery is overdone. Ninety over ninety percent of back surgeries for sciatic nerve damage is unnecessary. They have done studies proving that point. That is, if you take people who had surgery for their sciatic nerve or spinal nerve compression and people who had medical treatment, just physical therapy and medicine, after six months there is no difference. Even though those who have surgery may have quicker relief, they feel better faster, but after six months there is no difference. So, avoid surgery, maintain healthy back; that is exercise your back, don't sit too long, and this way you can prevent sciatic nerve damage in the first place. But, if it happens, physical therapy, medications, heat, acupuncture and things like that can help you.