Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve — which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.
Sciatica is caused by irritation of the root(s) of the lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.
Additional common causes of sciatica include:
Lumbar spinal stenosis (Narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back)
Degenerative disc disease (breakdown of discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae)
Spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips forward over another one)
Common symptoms of sciatica include:
Pain in the rear or leg that is worse when sitting
Burning or tingling down the leg
Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot
A constant pain on one side of the rear
A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up
Sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower body. Often, the pain extends from the lower back all the way through the back of the thigh and down through the leg. Depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may also extend to the foot or toes.
For some people, the pain from sciatica can be severe and debilitating. For others, the sciatica pain might be infrequent and irritating, but has the potential to get worse.
Seek immediate medical attention with any symptoms of progressive lower extremity weakness and/or loss of bladder or bowel control.