The term sciatica describes the symptoms of leg pain and possibly tingling, numbness or weakness that originates in the lower back and travels through the buttock and down the leg.
What is the sciatic nerve?
Sciatica symptoms occur when the large sciatic nerve is irritated.
The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the body and is composed of individual nerve roots that start by branching out from the spine in the lower back.
- The sciatic nerve starts in the lower back and runs down the back of each leg.
- At each level of the lower spine a nerve root exits from the inside of the spine and then comes together to make up the large sciatic nerve.
- Portions of the sciatic nerve then branch out in each leg to innervate certain parts of the leg – e.g. the buttock, thigh, calf, foot, toes.
The sciatica symptoms (e.g. leg pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, possibly symptoms that radiate into the foot) are different depending on where the nerve is pinched.
Sciatica Nerve Pain