Diagnosis of Sciatica

The diagnosis of sciatica is performed clinically, based on the presentation of symptoms of your clinical history. The doctor performs a detailed physical examination to check for any physical anomalies that may result in the depression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. In most of the cases, doctors do not need to conduct any specific tests for sciatica, but they may still get X rays and other imaging tests performed to ensure that the condition is sciatica and nothing else. Here are some of the tests that may be recommended to you:

  • CT scan or MRI scan may be performed if the pain has persisted for more than two weeks. These tests are specifically performed to check the alignment of the spine.
  • The doctor may choose to perform a bone scan or the X-ray of your back in case you have ever had cancer or HIV infection. This is also a standard procedure for those who have a history of IV drug use.
  • X rays are also a standard procedure for those who have been taking steroids.
  • Laboratory studies are used very rarely in case of sciatica. They are only occasionally required and are considered unorthodox. Some of these tests include complete blood count (CBC) to check for infection, hemoglobin levels to check for anemia and urinalysis for checking infections in the urine.