Sciatica is a symptom. It consists of leg pain, which might feel like a bad leg cramp, or it can be excruciating, shooting pain down from your buttock to your leg as if there is an electric current. There may be complaints of burning and tingling sensations at the side of the leg and at times, the toes or a feeling of weakness or numbness in the leg. This can make standing or sitting nearly impossible and the pain might be worse when you sit, sneeze, or cough.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica might be a symptom of a “pinched nerve” affecting one or more of the lower spinal nerves. The nerve might be pinched inside or outside of the spinal canal as it passes into the leg.
- Injury or trauma: A significant outside force can create direct compression on the nerve. Example: sports injury, car accident or a bad fall.
- Pregnancy and Obesity: The extra weight and pressure on your spine caused by pregnancy or weight gain can cause compression of the sciatic nerve.
- Herniated / Slipped disc: The most common cause of sciatica is when herniated or slipped disc causes pressure on a nerve root.
- Prolonged Sitting: Prolonged sitting can cause the spine disc to collapse and compress on the sciatic nerve that causes pain in the buttock.