Sciatica is a term for symptoms of pain along the large sciatic Nerve that runs from your lower spine and down the back of each leg. It is relatively common, and occurs when the sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed by some type of problem in your lower back.
When any of the nerve roots in your lower back are irritated, pain travels from the nerve root to the sciatic nerve, down to the buttock, and sometimes down the back of the leg.
Sciatica is nerve pain
Sciatica pain is often experienced as a shooting, searing pain that radiates down the back of the leg. Sometimes, numbness, tingling, or burning is felt along the nerve. Some people describe the nerve pain as electric-like. Conversely, sciatica symptoms may be experienced as more of a constant, dull pain.
Common Sciatica Symptoms
Usually, sciatica only affects one side of the lower body and the pain often radiates from the lower back all the way through the back of the thigh and down through the leg.
Some combination of the following symptoms is most common:
- Lower back pain, if experienced at all, is not as severe as leg pain
- Constant pain in only one side of the buttock or leg, but rarely both the right and left sides
- Pain that originates in the low back or buttock and continues along the path of the sciatic nerve – down the back of the thigh and into the lower leg and foot
- Pain that feels better when patients lie down or are walking, but worsens when standing or sitting
- Pain that is typically described as sharp or searing, rather than dull
- Some experience a “pins-and-needles” sensation, numbness or weakness, or a prickling sensation down the leg