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What is the harm if the compression of the sciatic nerve in the lower back is untreated?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
Answered : 1579 Questions
I am 45 yrs. old. 15 years ago I had a pinch nerve in my lower back that left my right side leg painful and numb down to my toes. After weeks of treatment from a chiropractor, I was on my feet with no pain. I have not felt the pain like that again, but sometimes (once a week) I feel a tingle or numbness in my 4th & 5th toe. Is this going to be harmful in my later years if not treated now? What specialist should I see or could I do a certain exercise to help this problem?
Posted Tue, 24 Apr 2012 in Back Pain
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 53 minutes later
Thanks for posting your query.

The pain that you had which originated in your lower back and radiated down the leg and toes is most probably sciatica cause by compression of the sciatic nerve and it is one of the commonest causes of tingling and numbness sensation (called parasthesia) in the toes.

Apart from sciatica, parasthesia of skin can be due to dysfunctioning of neurons. It can be due to diabetes, hypothyroidism, peripheral vascular disease, malnutrition or neurological causes.

Get your blood sugar and thyroid hormones levels evaluated. You can take some vit B12 tablets for some days and see if the symptoms improve. You also need to get certain investigations done and these include MRI spine, nerve conduction velocity and MR neurography.

You should see a neurologist and get these investigations done.
Apart from physiotherapy and massage, anti-inflammatory medication along with a muscle relaxant and steroid injections are useful in case of sciatica. Severe cases may need surgery.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.

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