Sciatica - Common Back Pain Problem
Sciatica is quite a common back pain problem that may affect most of us at some point in our
lives to varying degrees. It may be so mild as not to cause too much pain and disappear of its own
accord, or more seriously, could be a sign of an underlying illness and may in extreme
circumstances require surgery.
Sciatic pain is a form of back pain caused by pressure on a nerve,
affecting the lower half of the body. The pain is usually felt in the buttock or down the back of
the leg and sometimes below the knee or into the foot. If symptoms include actual back pain, then
the back pain itself is normally less severe than the pain in the leg.
Sufferers of Sciatica may also feel a strange tingling, numbness within the leg and possible
muscle weakness. Standing for prolonged periods may also exacerbate the symptoms making the
sufferer desperate to sit or lie down to relieve the pain.
What causes Sciatica?
The Sciatic Nerve runs from the base of the spine and down the back of the thigh to the knee.
Compression or damage of this nerve, usually at the place where it leaves the spine, causes Sciatic
In young and early middle-aged adults, the most common cause of sciatica is a prolapsed
intervertebral disc in the lumbosacral area of the lower back.
Older people with conditions such as Osteoarthritis may experience changes within the spine
causing localised pressure on the nerve, or Spinal Stenosis (the narrowing of the spinal
In some cases, just sitting awkwardly may induce Sciatica without the sufferer realising.
However, symptoms such as loss of sensation around the genital area and buttocks, difficulty
passing water or opening your bowels, or progressive weakness require urgent medical