Because sciatica does not affect just one area of the body, the sciatica symptoms are often misdiagnosed at first or difficult to diagnose. The pain may be in the lower back, the leg, buttocks or feet. The pain may be most severe in the lower back or it may be more severe in the legs. Because of this variation, many sufferers don’t realize what is wrong and thus prolong the treatment of the illness.

Although there are a few different sciatica symptoms, the most common is pain in the posterior (back) thigh, lower part of the leg or in the foot. In most cases, pain in the lower back is also one of the sciatica symptoms. In some cases, the pain in the lower back is stronger than in the legs or feet, but in some cases, the lower back has the least severe pain. Each individual case of sciatica is different. Many times when patients suffer from sciatica they don’t realize what it is until the pain actually gets to the thighs and legs. They feel they just have severe lower back pains from overuse or misuse of the back. Because of this, they often fail to seek medical treatment as quickly as they should have.

Sciatica symptoms usually begin in the lower back, moving down through the buttocks, back of knees, calf and into the feet. By the time the pain reaches the legs, it often becomes less painful in the lower back area. In some instances, the pain in the lower back will disappear altogether leaving only the pain in the back of the legs and to the feet. Many people that have shooting pain through their back and buttocks assume it is sciatica. True sciatica symptoms go right down to the feet, at least at the beginning of the illness.

In cases where the patient has had sciatica for a very long time, the pain may have localized in the back of the buttocks and back of the legs, but not the feet. This situation will only happen after the patient has had sciatica for a long time. In the beginning of the disease, their would have been pain shooting into the foot.

Each patient may have more or less severe sciatica symptoms depending on what position they have their bodies in for most of the day. Standing or sitting may both make the pains worse, whereas lying down often makes the pains subside. Weak or lessened bowel movements or bladder functions are occasional sciatica symptoms, but very rare.

It’s unfortunate that many people tend to try to diagnose themselves based on similar pains a friend or family member may have experienced. Situations like this cheat the individual out of earlier and correct medical treatment.