The term sciatica is often misunderstood. It is a set of symptoms as opposed to a diagnosis.
The term sciatica describes symptoms of buttock, leg or foot pain, numbness, tingling or weakness that results from an irritated or compressed sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is comprised of 5 spinal nerves (L4, L5, S1, S2, and S3). It extends from the low back down to the foot. It is the largest and widest nerve in the human body.
They symptoms of sciatica could be caused by irritation of the nerves from mechanical compression from bulging/herniated discs, or bone spurs in the low back. The symptoms may be described as dull, sharp, burning, aching or stabbing. It may worsen as you are sitting for an extended amount of time or if you are laughing, sneezing or coughing. Walking may also aggravate the situation.
Treatments for sciatica depend on the underlying reason for the nerve irritation. Typically anti-inflammatories, rest, massage and possibly injection therapy can dramatically improve sciatica.