Common Injuries: Sciatica
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is not a condition in and of itself so much as a symptom of a larger condition. Sciatica generally refers to pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness that travels from the lower back, through the buttocks, and down the sciatic nerve in the back of the leg. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It’s nerve roots lie in lumbar, lower back, region of the spinal cord and extends through the buttocks, sending nerve roots into the legs.
Sciatica is typically characterized by one or more of the following symptoms:
- A sharp pain making it difficult to walk or stand
- Constant pain in one side of the rear
- Burning or tingling down the leg
- Pain that worsens when seated
- Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot
Sciatic pain varies from infrequent to constant and irritating to severe and incapacitating. More specific symptoms can vary as well in location, type, and severity, depending on the condition causing the sciatica.
Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica is most commonly a result of a herniated lumbar disc, but any sort of irritation or inflammation can cause the symptoms of sciatica. Aside from a pinched nerve, other causes of sciatica range from irritation by an adjacent bone, muscle, or tumor to internal bleeding, infections, and injuries. Pregnancy has also been known to cause irritation of the sciatic nerve.