Sciatica is a term that describes pain in the buttocks or legs that is caused by the sciatic nerve becoming compressed or irritated. Sciatica is caused by compression or irritation to a nerve root. The nerve root is the name given to the segment of the nerve as it comes off the central spine cord.
It is often diagnosed as a ‘radiculopathy’, meaning that a disc has protruded from its normal position in the vertebral column and is putting pressure on the radicular nerve (nerve root), which connects with the sciatic nerve. Usually, sciatica only affects one side of the lower body, and the pain often radiates from the lower back all the way through the back of the thigh and down through the leg. Depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may also radiate to the foot or toes. While sciatica can be painful, it is rare that permanent nerve damage will result. Most sciatica pain syndromes result from inflammation and will get better within two weeks to a few months.