Muscle and reflex tests
Your provider will need to identify your pain pattern by conducting a series of muscle and reflex tests to determine whether or not your pain is sciatica. These strength tests can be to lift your legs one at a time, while on your back, or walk on your toes or heels, or rise from a squatting position. If the sciatic nerve has been affected, the pain will usually worsen during these strength tests.
If pain is present and located through the physical, a treatment plan for managing sciatica will be implemented.
Occasionally, when the pain is severe but there are no other symptoms, medical imaging tests (x rays, MRIs, CT scans, or EMGs) and diagnostic nerve blocks may be necessary to reveal the underlying cause of sciatica, which is most commonly herniated disks or bone spurs.