Sciatica

Location of sciatic nerve in the body, with detail of nerve roots and a sciatic nerve

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It is formed by nerve roots coming out of the spinal cord in the lower back. The nerve goes down through the buttock, and then its branches extend down the back of the leg to the ankle and foot.

A herniated disc may compress one or more of the nerve roots that form the sciatic nerve. Pressure on one of these nerve roots will often cause symptoms of sciatica, such as pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling in the affected leg.

A herniated disc is the most common cause of sciatica. Sciatica can also be a symptom of other problems, such as narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis), nerve root compression caused by injury, and certain rare tumours.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics

Current as ofNovember 29, 2017

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