Pseudo Sciatica


Pseudo-sciatica related to peripheral neuropathy is a condition that superficial siderosis patients may experience, which simulates the characteristics of traditional sciatic nerve pain. This pain originates from the lower back, extending down both legs and can reach as far as the feet. Initially, this pain may fluctuate, but it often advances to a chronic state. Thus, it’s generally treated in the same way as peripheral neuropathy. While true sciatica results from compression of the nerve root that forms the sciatic nerve, pseudo-sciatica originates from smaller nerves responsible for motor and sensory functions, branching out to the lower extremities.

Managing Pseudo-Sciatica Pain

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can often manage early pain. Capsaicin-based creams may offer temporary relief, although they can cause skin irritation in some people. Daily massage of the lower back and leg area with arnica oil may also provide temporary pain relief.

When Over-the-Counter Remedies Aren’t Sufficient

Chronic pain can eventually become unbearable, at which point a consultation with a physician or pain clinic may be necessary for stronger prescription medications. Patients with superficial siderosis often need to experiment with different combinations of pain medications until they find the most effective treatment.

Anti-convulsant medications like gabapentin (Gralise, Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica), originally developed to treat epilepsy, may help to alleviate nerve pain. However, these can cause side effects like drowsiness and dizziness.

Certain tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline, doxepin, and nortriptyline (Pamelor) may also be effective.

Please note that these prescription pain medications are merely suggestions based on the success reported by some superficial siderosis patients in controlling their pain. As is not a medical professional or physician, they cannot endorse a specific treatment. Always consult your healthcare provider or pain clinic before beginning any new treatment regimen.

Updated June 15, 2023

Sources: Superficial siderosis is a rare neurologic disease characterized by progressive sensorineural hearing loss, cerebellar ataxia, pyramidal signs, and neuroimaging findings revealing hemosiderin deposits in the spinal and cranial leptomeninges and subpial layer. The disease progresses slowly, and patients may present with mild cognitive impairment, nystagmus, dysmetria, spasticity, dysdiadochokinesia, dysarthria, hyperreflexia, and Babinski signs. Additional features reported include dementia, urinary incontinence, anosmia, ageusia, and anisocoria. Superficial siderosis MedGen UID: 831707 •Concept ID: CN226971 •Finding Orphanet: ORPHA247245
Living With SuperficialSiderosis Website PubMed Reference Library 
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