What Is ‘Pseudo’Sciatica’?

What Is ‘Pseudo’Sciatica’?

Sciatica is a very difficult condition to pinpoint exactly. It is at heart, a condition that is a symptom of the sciatic nerve being compressed, usually by a disc that has slipped or may be herniated. The sciatic pain then travels down from the lower back, via the buttock and all the way down the sciatic nerve, even sometimes reaching as far as the toes.

There are other conditions that can create many of the symptoms of sciatica pain, other than the sciatic nerve being compressed. But these conditions are also called ‘sciatica’ and among these is the condition known as pseudo-sciatica.

But make no mistake; pseudo-sciatica is a real condition. It is also painful and should not be regarded as being any ‘less’ of a condition than other forms of sciatica. In fact, taking to anyone with pseudo sciatica will reinforce the reality that this is indeed a very painful condition.

Pseudo-sciatica In A Nutshell

Basically pseudo-sciatica is the term that is used to describe the condition that arises when the peripheral regions of the sciatic nerve is compressed. The compression is usually caused by tension that has been created within the gluteal muscles, which are the very large muscles that actually form the buttock area and they assist the thighs in moving efficiently. The piriformis muscle or even the psoases muscles may also cause tension to be created. The psoases muscles are two of the muscles that help the trunk to be flexible and also keep the thigh rotating, so tension within these will often result in problems with the peripheral parts of the sciatic nerve being compressed.


Symptoms are similar to the standard form of sciatica in the sense that if you lie on the side that is affected for too long, pain can occur. Pain is also experienced if you get up after sitting for a long time. But pseudo-sciatica also can cause a pain in the hip that may be so substantial that the patient limps, slightly or in quite a pronounced manner.

Patients with pseudo sciatica often do not have thigh pain, whereas they will experience extensive pain in the hip that will persist whether the patient is walking or at rest.

What Causes Pseudo Sciatica?

Pseudo sciatica is often caused by poor posture or even by too much exercise. Sitting for long periods of time at a computer can also cause compression, especially if the head is protruding for a long time. Parents who frequently take a baby or toddler out of a car set in the rear of the car can also find that they develop pseudo sciatica. The other main causes relate to sitting or even standing in the same position for too long. Men who sit for very long periods (especially on a hard seat) with their wallet in the back pocket of their trousers can also develop pseudo-sciatica. It is, as a result, quite common, although it is sometimes simply called sciatica and not pseudo-sciatica.


Treatment options are very similar to those for general sciatica and patients will be treated with anti-inflammatory medication, painkillers, as well as physiotherapy. It is important to seek the appropriate medical intervention however, because the compression will rarely go away completely of its own volition and so requires to be treated and advice given so that the condition does not reoccur.


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