Symptoms and Signs of Sciatica

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Sciatica

Sciatica refers to a type of is nerve pain from irritation of the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve begins from nerve roots in the spinal cord in the low back and passes through the buttock and branches down the lower limb. Sciatica is most commonly caused by lumbar disc herniation, but any condition that irritates or causes inflammation of the sciatic nerve can lead to the symptoms of sciatica. 

Characteristic signs and symptoms of sciatica include burning pain that radiates from the lower back and upper buttock down the back of the thigh into the back of the leg. Numbness and tingling may also be present. Associated symptoms can include hip pain if the pain radiates around the hip or buttock and low back pain. In severe cases, walking may be difficult. Sometimes, symptoms are relieved by lying down.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.