Sciatica, also called lumbar radiculopathy, is a pain that originates along your sciatic nerve. This extends from the back of your pelvis down the back of your thigh. Your sciatic nerve is the primary nerve of your leg. It is also the largest nerve in your entire body.
Usually, sciatica is caused by a herniated disk in your spine that presses on your sciatic nerve.
Other reasons for pressure on your sciatic nerve may include:
Sometimes, the cause for your sciatica cannot be identified.
Following are the most common symptoms of sciatica. However, you may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of sciatica may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your health care provider for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for sciatica may include the following:
Your health care provider will determine the specific treatment for sciatica, based on:
Sciatica usually heals on its own with rest and time. To help relieve the pain, treatment may include:
Because sciatica is caused by pressure on a nerve in your spine, complications may develop if the pressure is not relieved. Possible complications of unrelieved nerve compression include:
Notify your health care provider if:
Sciatica most commonly occurs in people between the ages of 30 and 50 years.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider: