Sciatica refers to pain radiating down the entire sciatic nerve, one of the largest nerves in the human body starting from the lower back, running down the backs of each leg, and ending at the feet. As the sciatic nerve branches along the hips and buttocks, it covers most parts of your lower body, facilitating sensations and movements. Sciatica pain usually only affects one side of the body, but it can also affect both sides. The pain is often severe, leading to electrical sensations, numbness, and weakness along the path of the affected nerves.
Sciatica usually occurs when the sciatic nerve roots are pinched or compressed due to herniated discs, bone spurs, or other reasons. In rare cases, the sciatic nerve may be pinched because of other underlying disease or a tumor.
The following are the potential causes of sciatica pain:
- Back injuries and trauma.
- Degenerative spine conditions.
- Herniated discs.
- Consistently poor posture.
- Lifting heavy objects with the lower back.
- Other underlying diseases, such as diabetes.
- Shooting or burning pain from the buttocks down to the thighs.
- Mild to severe pain on one or both sides of the body.
- Numbness and tingling sensations in a linear path down the legs.
- The pain worsens when you cough, squat, or sit down.
- Loss of sensations or weakness in the legs in rare cases.
- Loss of bowel control in rare cases.
- Being overweight or obese.
- Occupations that necessitate heavy lifting.
- Driving motor vehicles for long periods.
- Sedentary lifestyle.