Bilateral Sciatica – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

bilateral sciatica

Sciatica, which is pain someone experiences emanating from the sciatic nerve, is a form of radiculopathy. Radiculopathy may range from being mild to severe and results from pinching or compression of a spine’s nerve root. Sciatic pain radiates down the leg and feet and will mostly stem from the lower back. Sciatica can also come up as a result of having a herniated disc, injury, or trauma of the sciatic nerve. Often, sciatic pain is experienced on one side of the leg but there are also cases of bilateral sciatica.

What is bilateral sciatica?

When “bilateral” is used, it means and refers to “both sides.” Bilateral sciatica is a very unusual form of sciatica that occurs when the two ends of the sciatic nerve are compressed or pinched. With this, the symptoms and pain are experienced in both hips, buttocks, and legs at the same time. This is because the nerve is now affected in more than one location. The pain on one side may be worse than that on the opposite side.


Bilateral sciatica will occur when there are multiple herniated discs – more than one spinal disc is damaged. It may also occur due to spine degeneration.

Cauda Equina Syndrome or the compression in the cauda equina nerve roots may bring about bilateral sciatica. The cauda equina nerve roots are the collective nerves that branch from the spinal cord’s end, between the spinal bone spaces, to connect to other body parts, on the lower end. The cauda equina nerve roots offer a human movement ability and feeling of sensation in the bladder and legs.

Some of these nerve roots combine to form the sciatic nerve on the left and right sides of the lower spine. If they are affected on both sides, this kind of sciatica occurs.

Sufferers must beware that bilateral sciatic may be an indication of a more serious and underlying condition and professional advice must be sought.


Basically, any symptoms that come up due to sciatica are what will be experienced. The only difference is that bilateral sciatica, they will occur on two locations together. They may include; sharp pains, feelings of numbness, muscle weaknesses, tingling sensations, and movement difficulty.

Remedies and Treatments

Depending on the cause of your pain, treatments and remedies rendered may vary from one person to another. They may include;

Medication for pain relief

These may be bought Over the Counter or may be prescribed. For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used to lessen the pain and swelling. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen can also help.

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Chiropractic care

A chiropractor will usually manipulate the body for the realignment of the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractic care will help the body through its individual process of healing. The spine is manipulated to free movement and relieve the sciatic nerve pressure.


Trained experts in acupuncture insert needles on various trigger points to stimulate the flow of energy so as to relieve the pain.

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Steroid administration

Oral steroids or epidural steroid injections may be administered. Mostly, oral steroids will be administered prior to the epidural steroid injections.

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Physical therapy, exercises, and stretches

Physical therapists will usually assist patients through exercises that are meant to alleviate the pain. Patients are guided through exercises that will aid in strengthening the lower back muscles, stretching this area, and reducing sciatic nerve pressure.

Physical therapy also entails at-home exercises for recovery. Sciatic pain worsens with being stationary and therefore, yoga stretches and Pilates are also considered to be very effective in alleviating the symptoms.

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Surgery is not initially advocated for especially, if one has a good quality of life, can work and perform tasks. However, if the pain is chronic, hinders activities, and conservative treatments have failed, it can be considered. Most of the surgeries conducted are referred to as spinal decompression surgeries. They include microdiscectomy, laminotomy and laminectomy, spinal fusion, foraminotomy, and many more.


Even though sciatica is commonly associated with having its effects on one side, bilateral sciatica can also be evident at times. It is quite rare and the symptoms, remedies and treatments will be similar to those of the commonly known sciatic pain. A proper and professional diagnosis must be established once symptoms are felt.

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