Sciatica is a term used to describe pain traveling in the distribution of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is a symptom caused by a disorder occurring in the low wback (Lumbar Spine). The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body it begins at the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebra (L4, L5).it then runs vertically downward into the buttock, back of the thigh, behind the knee into the calf and further downward to the feet.
Sciatica generally affects one side of the body. The pain may be dull, sharp, burning, there may also be intermittent shooting pain beginning in the buttock traveling downward into the back or side of the thigh and/or leg, and may be felt in the feet. Sometimes symptoms include tingling and numbness. Sitting and trying to stand up may be painful and difficult. Coughing and sneezing may intensify the pain.
Compression of the sciatic nerve can cause any of the above-cited symptoms.The most common causes of sciatica are Herneated discs, Degenerative disc disease,Spinal stenosis, and Spondylolisthesis. It may also be caused by pressure from the piriformis muscle which lays below the gluteal (buttock) muscle.Spinal tumors or Infections can also cause sciatica but they are rare. Generally the nerve damage is not permanent and paralysis is seldom a danger. However, if there is increasing trunk or leg weakness, or bladder and/or bowel incontinence this is an indication of Cauda Equina Syndrome, a serious disorder requiring emergency treatment.