What is sciatica?
Sciatica is nerve pain running down the sciatic nerve, which extends from the lower back area, hips, and glutes, down the back side of either leg to the soles of the feet. The sciatic nerve is the longest and thickest nerve in the human body. Sciatica refers to any pain condition that originates along this nerve.
What does sciatic pain feel like?
Sciatic pain is often intermittent and predominantly radiates down one leg. Common descriptions of pain include: “burning”, “shooting”, or “stabbing” sensations that radiate from the lower back down the leg/s. This pain is aggravated especially when sitting or standing for extended periods of time.
Causes of sciatica
Irritation, inflammation, strain, or compression of the sciatic nerve can lead to pain. Common risk factors include:
- Increased weight
- Repeatedly lifting heavy objects
- Lack of activity
- Low back injuries
- Applying ice or heat packs to the area
- Over-the-counter medications (NSAIDS) or prescription medications
- Daily stretching
- Corticosteroid injections