The Sciatic Nerve is the largest nerve in the human body and begins in the lumbar area (lower region) of the spine and radiates down into the buttocks. Nerve endings extend even further down the thigh.
Sciatica is caused by irritation or inflammation of the Sciatic nerve and often results in pain that is felt in the lumbar area, hip or buttocks and travels down the back of the thigh. The pain can be mild to severe and may be more extreme in specific areas where the greatest irritation is present. Most often, pain is felt most significantly in the buttock area.
There are a number of different causes that could result in Sciatica the most common of which is a pinching of the nerve in the lumbar region of the spine by a herniated disc. Other causes may include:
- Injury to the lumbar region or buttock area.
- Infection of the nerve or surrounding tissue.
- Muscle injury, stress or inflammation.
- Pressure on the nerve from surrounding bone.
- Tumors or unusual growths putting pressure on the spine or Sciatic nerve.
- Other illnesses, health conditions and diseases that could affect the nerve.
Sciatica is common during pregnancy. This is due to additional pressure on the Sciatic nerve from the baby in the womb. However, it may also be attributed to inflammation, hormones and other symptoms that are present during pregnancy.
Diseases and illnesses that may cause Sciatica include bone and muscle degenerative diseases, lumbar disc disease, cancer of the spine or surrounding tissue. These conditions are serious and immediate treatment should be sought.
Should Sciatica arise suddenly and not dissipate within a few days or increase in severity, it is highly recommended to consult with a professional medical practitioner. The pain could be symptomatic of another more serious health condition, disease or illness.