Pseudo Sciatica – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Pseudo Sciatica

Sciatica is a medical term used to describe the condition in which the compression of the sciatic nerve occurs. This causes one to experience pain originating from the lower back or the pelvic area and radiates to the leg or foot. Mostly, sciatica affects one leg, but it may also affect both legs.

The pain may feel like a burning and tingling sensation, and it may lead to leg weakness as the brain signals are not sent to the leg muscles accordingly. With sciatica, there is usually structural damage- nerve compression, a bulging intervertebral disc, irritation of the sciatic nerve resulting from the facet joint inflammation, compression by a tight nerve-muscle, or an underlying cause such as injury, trauma, or infection.

Pseudo Sciatica

Pseudo Sciatica is a condition that causes pain to be radiated down the leg in a similar manner, but it is usually not caused by any structural damage. With pseudo sciatica, other conditions can cause sciatic pain symptoms. Pseudo Sciatica is also termed “fake sciatica” as the symptoms mimic those of regular sciatica. With the condition, the sciatic nerve is compressed and pinched but from a different cause.

What causes Pseudo Sciatica?

The condition arises from compression of the sciatic nerve peripheral regions. This compression results from the tension that is created within or around the gluteal muscles. These are the muscles that form the buttocks area and aid in the effective motion of the thighs.

1. Muscle Tension or inflammation

The psoases muscles may create tension. In the body, the psoases muscles are the two muscles that enable flexibility of the trunk and rotate the thighs. Piriformis muscles occur deep under the gluteus maximus and in proximity to the sciatic nerve. They support the movement of the lower body, posture, gait, and aid in hip stabilization. When inflamed, the piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve triggering symptoms similar to those of sciatica.

piriformis muscle
piriformis muscle

2. Gluteus minus trigger points

Trigger points may form on the lower back or hip muscles, causing pain down the leg. These are muscle “knots” that become highly irritable and inflamed. Trigger points are mostly found in fatigued, weak, or “overloaded” muscles.

3. Sacroiliac ligament weakness

The ligament and the sacroiliac joint stabilize the hip and support the upper part of the body. An injury on the ligament can cause pain that radiates along the leg and numbness. Quite many pain referral patterns from a weak or injured sacroiliac ligament appear like those of sciatica.

4. Poor posture

Poor posture can also cause pseudo Sciatica. For example, sitting over a computer for too long with the head protruding as one looks at the screen.

Suggested article: The Ultimate Exercise Guide To Improving Posture (With Pictures)

Symptoms of Pseudo Sciatica

The symptoms associated with pseudo sciatica are similar to those of classic or standard sciatica and include;

  • Pain radiates from the lower back, down the buttock, and continues down to the leg or foot, especially after sitting for too long. The pain is not necessarily too much, but it can be diffuse and may come and go intermittently. One may go for a long time without the pain.
  • Pain when getting up after having sat for long.
  • Intense pain in the hip causes one to limp slightly in a pronounced manner.
  • Problem lifting the affected leg.
  • Numbness on the thigh’s posterior.


  • Manual therapies and exercises – These can help resolve pain symptoms lie in the gluteus minimums or the piriformis muscles. The exercises will strengthen the muscles and also promote lymphatic drainage reducing swelling within the area. Stretches will relax tense or irritated muscles.
  • Therapies such as osteopathic manipulations and trigger point therapy may help identify the problem and reduce structural tension. Prolotherapy is best for a problem that is within the sacroiliac ligament. This type of treatment tightens and strengthens the injured ligament to treat pain.
  • Medication – Just as with the case of regular sciatica, painkillers, and anti-inflammatory drugs can be administered to relieve pain.
  • Maintenance of a good posture.


It is utterly important to get a proper diagnosis when you experience symptoms similar to sciatica, as you may be suffering from pseudo sciatica, to find out the root of your problem and receive the proper type of treatment. Remember that being treated for regular sciatica may not be useless, but it is best and most effective when you are fully aware of what is causing you pain.

Suggested articles:
Chronic Sciatica – How You Can Effortlessly Deal With It
5 Sciatica Causes & Risk Factors – Everything You Need To Know
How Do You Know When Sciatica Is Getting Better?
Top 9 Most Common Myths About Sciatica
Bilateral Sciatica – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
How Do I Know I Have Sciatica? The Main Signs of Sciatica Explained
Sciatica – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment (Everything You Need To Know)

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