What the heck is “pseudosciatica”?

Sciatica is a condition where nerve roots in the lower portion of the lumbar spine become irritated as a result of disc bulge, disc herniation, or osteoarthritis.

There is also a condition called “pseudosciatica” which mimics sciatica.  It can pose a real diagnostic challenge.  Conditions that cause pseudosciatica include

1. trochanteric bursitis: a form of bursitis that causes pain in the lateral hip.  The pain is aggravated by climbing stairs and by lying on the affected side.

2. pyriformis syndrome: a problem that occurs when a swollen pyriformis muscle places pressure on the sciatic nerve.  This occurs after over exertion or after a fall on the buttock.

3.iliotibial band syndrome. A problem that occurs in runners with pain in the lateral hip radiating down the side of the leg.sciatica2

The examining doctor needs to be aware of these “foolers” and perform a careful history and physical examination.

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