Sciatica can cause knee pain and pain anywhere else along the sciatic nerve, due to compression, damage, or nerve irritation. Treatment includes medications and lifestyle changes.

The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back, down the back of the leg to the knee. Research suggests that sciatica is most common once a person reaches their 40s.

Sciatica may have a slow or sudden onset, and symptoms may range from mild to severe; each person will have a different experience. The most common cause of sciatica is a bulging lumbar intervertebral disc or herniated disc.

Some estimates indicate that most people recover from sciatica within 4-6 weeks without further medical complications.

However, according to NHS Inform in the United Kingdom (UK), a doctor may want to investigate further if a person’s pain does not subside after 6 weeks.

This article discusses where a person may feel sciatica pain, tips to help relieve it, sciatica treatment, and when to speak with a healthcare professional.

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Since one of the most common causes of sciatica is a bulging lumbar intervertebral disc, people with sciatica often feel pain in the lumbar spine or lower back.

Sometimes, the pain can be intense.

The sciatic nerve starts in the lower back, travels down the back of the leg, and ends at the knee where it branches into the tibial and common peroneal nerves. A person may experience sciatica anywhere along the sciatic nerve, including the knee. Therefore, sciatica may be a cause of knee pain.

The sciatic nerve also provides sensation to the front and back of the lower leg and foot. Therefore, a person may also experience pain in those areas.

According to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), a person may also experience numbness, weakness, tingling, or a burning sensation in the buttocks, back of the legs, and feet.

Learn more about sciatica pain here.

Research suggests that a person typically recovers from sciatica, including sciatic knee pain, within 4-6 weeks.

There are several lifestyle choices and home remedies a person may wish to try that may help to relieve symptoms of sciatica and sciatic knee pain. Some of these may include:

A person should speak with a healthcare professional about which techniques may work best for them.

Learn more about how long sciatica lasts.

Doctors may recommend a variety of treatments to help relieve sciatica. Some of these include:

Learn more about treatments for sciatica pain.

People should speak with a doctor if they experience sciatica pain, as they can likely diagnose the problem. A healthcare professional may carry out a full examination and diagnostic tests before recommending appropriate treatment.

If people have tried several home remedies and lifestyle changes and the pain has not subsided after a few weeks, they should seek medical advice. A person might also consider consulting a doctor if the pain worsens or stops them from doing any usual activities.

If a person has a compressed sciatic nerve and does not receive the appropriate treatment, complications may develop, including:

  • increasing pain as time passes
  • burning or prickling sensation in the affected leg
  • decreased strength in the affected leg
  • reduced function of the bowel or bladder
  • permanent nerve damage

Anyone who experiences any of the following should call 911:

  • sciatica on both sides of the body
  • numbness around or under the genitals or around the anus
  • severe numbness or weakness in both legs, or worsening numbness or weakness in both legs
  • difficulty starting urination, inability to urinate, or urinary incontinence, if this is not typical for them
  • not noticing when they need to have a bowel movement or cannot control when they have a bowel movement if this is not typical for them

The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back to the knee. Pressure, damage, or irritation of the sciatic nerve causes sciatica. Pain can occur anywhere along the sciatic nerve or in the lower legs, feet, and knees.

People typically recover from sciatica and sciatic knee pain by making lifestyle changes and treating pain at home.

However, sciatica pain can be intense, and medical treatments are available. Speak with a doctor or another healthcare professional about the most suitable treatments.

If the pain is ongoing, worsens, or causes additional symptoms, a person should seek further medical attention.