Sciatica is a term describing the symptoms of leg pain originating in the lower back, traveling through the buttock and down the sciatic nerve located at the back of each leg. The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the body, made up of individual nerve roots branching from the spine in the lower back.
Sciatica symptoms occur when the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated near its point of origin. However, sciatica is not a medical diagnosis; it is a symptom of an underlying medical condition that causes sciatic pain.
Sciatic nerve pain varies from infrequent and irritating to constant and debilitating. Symptoms are usually determined by the location of the pinched nerve. Common symptoms include:
- Leg pain described as tingling, burning, or searing
- Weakness, numbness or tingling in the foot or toes
- Sharp pain making it difficult to stand or walk
- Constant pain in one side of the buttocks (rarely both sides)
- Pain that increases when sitting