The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body, running from the spinal cord to the buttock and hip area and down the back of each leg.
The term “sciatica” refers to pain in the lower extremity resulting from irritation of the sciatic nerve. The pain of sciatica is typically felt from the low back (lumbar area) to behind the thigh and can radiate down below the knee. Sciatica isn’t a disorder in and of itself, but a symptom of another problem involving the nerve.
This pain is often caused by compression of the spinal nerves in the lower back, and the leg pain is usually much worse than the back pain. The sciatica tend to be different depending on where the pressure on the sciatic nerve occurs, however, sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower body.
For some people, the pain from sciatica can be severe and debilitating, while for others, the pain might be infrequent and irritating, but has the potential to get worse. As many as 40% of people will get sciatica at some point in their life. Pain may be made worse by prolonged sitting, standing up, sneezing, twisting, lifting, or straining.
Seek immediate medical attention if you have progressive lower extremity weakness, numbness in the upper thighs, and/or loss of bladder or bowel control.