Pain down the leg

Q

I have back pain and pain down my leg. What should I do?

A

It could well be sciatica. As long as you have not experienced numbness or problems passing water, symptoms are likely to settle. If you have any red flags then you should consult your doctor as soon as possible. On the whole, staying active, avoiding activities that put strain on your back, and taking ordinary painkillers (paracetamol) or anti-inflammatories.

If you have not already made contact with your doctor and the pain is still bad after two weeks it is worth seeing your doctor or a physiotherapist.

The vast majority of people with sciatica get better spontaneously within a few days to weeks. Only a very small minority ever need an operation.