What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is defined as pain caused by pressure or irritation of the sciatic nerve. It can cause pain anywhere along the distribution of the sciatic nerve from the lower back to the sole of the foot. It can also cause changes in sensation and muscle power of the leg.
The sciatic nerve is a large nerve the size of a little finger. They originate from the spinal column in the lower back and travel behind the hip joint, down the buttock and down the back of the leg to the foot.
Sciatica is often characterized by one or more of the following symptoms:
- Constant pain in only one side of the buttock or leg (rarely in both legs)
- Pain that is worse when sitting
- Leg pain that is often described as burning, tingling, or searing (versus a dull ache)
- Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg, foot, and/or toes
- A sharp pain that may make it difficult to stand up or walk
- Pain that radiates down the leg and possibly into the foot and toes (it rarely occurs only in the foot)