Sciatica, also called lumbar radiculopathy, is a pain that originates along your sciatic nerve. This nerve extends from the back of your pelvis down the back of your thigh. Your sciatic nerve is the main nerve in your leg. It is also the largest nerve in your entire body.
Usually, sciatica is caused by a herniated (or bulging) disk in your spine that presses on your sciatic nerve.
Other reasons for pressure on your sciatic nerve may include:
Sometimes, the cause for your sciatica cannot be identified.
These are the most common symptoms of sciatica:
The symptoms of sciatica may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Along with a complete medical history and physical exam, tests for sciatica may include:
Sciatica usually heals on its own with rest and time. To help relieve the pain, treatment may include:
Because sciatica is caused by pressure on a nerve in your spine, complications may develop if the pressure is not relieved. Possible complications of unrelieved nerve compression include:
Call your healthcare provider if:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
Stroke is a leading cause of death and a
leading cause of serious, long-term disability, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA). The ASA reports that strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Find out more about stroke by taking this quiz, based on information from the AHA and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).