Sciatica is defined as pain or discomfort associated with sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down and buttocks down into the back of the legs to the feet. Pain occurs when there's pressure on, or damage to, the sciatic nerve.
Damage to the Sciatic nerve may result in changes to sensation or weakness in muscle groups. Accurate and early diagnosis of sciatica is imperative for the best prognosis.
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It runs from the back of your pelvis, through your buttocks, and all the way down both legs, ending at your feet.
When something compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve, it can cause a pain that radiates out from your lower back and travels down your leg to your calf. Sciatic pain can range from being mild to very painful.
Symptoms of sciatica
Sciatica is different to general lower back pain. The pain of sciatica may not affect the back at all but usually radiates out from the lower back, down the buttocks and into one or both of the legs, right down to the calf.
The pain often gets worse over time and may also be made worse by:
• sneezing, coughing or laughing (impulse pain)
• standing or sitting for a long period of time
• bending backwards
If you have sciatica, you may also experience the following symptoms around your legs and feet:
• muscle weakness
• loss of tendon reflexes