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  Oct 10, 2018

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is the occurrence of pain in the thigh, leg and buttock, due to pinching of the sciatic nerve. This large nerve is formed from a number of smaller nerves, which leave the spinal cord between neighboring spinal vertebrae. Once they join, the sciatic nerve passes into the buttock, and then into the back of the thigh and the leg.  It may be pressed against the underlying bone at different points on its journey from the spinal cord to the leg.


The affected person usually complains of numbness, pins and needles, or pain that starts from the region of the hip and travels downward into the leg, pain or aching in the buttock, or in the ankle and foot. The pain may be excruciating, and make normal functioning impossible. It may also be mild, or anywhere in between.

This pain typically worsens when the person lifts, bends or strains, and can thus occur with sneezing, coughing or laughing heartily. It may also occur at night. Since the sciatic nerve controls both sensation and function of the leg muscles, sometimes the person experiences muscular weakness of the leg as well.

Causes of sciatica

The causes of this nerve pain may be:

  • A slipped or herniated lumbar disc.
  • Osteoarthritic changes in the l