Sciatica is the name given to a group of symptoms, including lower back pain and radiating pain, that travels down one of the legs. It often increases in intensity when the patient sits or lies down, and conversely becomes less painful when standing. The pain is originating from the sciatic nerve.
What is Sciatica
Lower back pain and other symptoms of numbness, tingling, or weakness are a direct result of compression of the sciatic nerve, a neural branch that begins in the lower spine and travels down each leg, around the calves, and into the feet. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, and it is particularly vulnerable because conditions like herniated discs or bulging discs are so common in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine.
Symptoms of Sciatica Nerve Pain
Sciatica is a classic example of referred lower back pain, or radiculitis. This is a condition in which the pain of an affected area actually manifests itself in a different part of the body. Ways that sciatica may present include:
- Tingling in the thighs or the backs of the legs – sciatica nerve pain
- Muscle spasms or cramping in the calves
- Loss of feeling in the feet or toes
- Pain that radiates from the upper back down through the buttocks