What is Sciatica?
According to Dorland’s Medical Dictionary, 27th edition, sciatica is defined as a syndrome characterized by pain radiating from the back into the buttock and into the lower extremity along its posterior or lateral aspect, and most commonly caused by a prolapse of the intervertebral disk; the term is also used to refer to pain anywhere along the course of the sciatic nerve.
Clinically speaking, sciatica is really a symptom as opposed to a diagnosis. If you have been diagnosed with sciatica, the question remains, “what is causing the sciatica?” Just like in the case of low back pain, there are numerous causes of sciatica. Quite commonly it is due to a prolapsed lumbar intervertebral disk, which is also known as a disk herniation or protrusion. Very often though, people think they have sciatica when it is not true sciatica. In other words, they don’t have pain that radiates from the back into the buttock and all the way into the lower leg.
Listed below are some additional causes of true sciatica:
- Lumbar spine degenerative disc disease
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Lumbar spondylolisthesis
- Although rare, spinal tumor or infection
A thorough evaluation is critical in determining your possible cause or causes of sciatic nerve pain.