13 doctors weighed in:
What is sciatica?
13 doctors weighed in

Dr. Daniel Chappell
Family Medicine
6 doctors agree
In brief: Nerve pain
Sciatica is a common term for a set of symptoms caused by compression or irritation of the nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve, or the actual sciatic nerves.
The pain is felt in the lower back, buttock, or any part of the leg and foot. The pain may be accompanied by numbness, weakness, tingling and difficulty in moving or controlling the leg. There are many causes of sciatica.

In brief: Nerve pain
Sciatica is a common term for a set of symptoms caused by compression or irritation of the nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve, or the actual sciatic nerves.
The pain is felt in the lower back, buttock, or any part of the leg and foot. The pain may be accompanied by numbness, weakness, tingling and difficulty in moving or controlling the leg. There are many causes of sciatica.
Dr. Daniel Chappell
Dr. Daniel Chappell
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Dr. SG Erman
Family Medicine
3 doctors agree
In brief: Pain
The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that is composed of many smaller nerves that come out of the lower back and run down each leg.
They merge and separate like an interstate highway system. The nerve may be irritated by a spinal problem (herniated disc, spinal stenosis, arthritis), or a muscle spasm. In either case, sciatica is when the injured nerve causes pain going down the leg.

In brief: Pain
The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that is composed of many smaller nerves that come out of the lower back and run down each leg.
They merge and separate like an interstate highway system. The nerve may be irritated by a spinal problem (herniated disc, spinal stenosis, arthritis), or a muscle spasm. In either case, sciatica is when the injured nerve causes pain going down the leg.
Dr. SG Erman
Dr. SG Erman
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Dr. Justin Esterberg
Orthopedic Surgery - Spine
2 doctors agree
In brief: Sciatica
Low back, buttock and "shooting" leg pain are all symptoms of a pinched nerve.
It sounds like you may have that problem. If the pain is severe and limiting your activity still, the best non-narcotic medications that I have found to work for my patients are antiinflammatories such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen which are over-the-counter medications. Other non-narcotic medications include tramadol (ultram) which requires a prescription and nerve-pain medications such as gabapentin. These are all to be taken for temporary pain relief. This type of pain typically resolves with time. Ask your primary physician about these if the pain is still limiting you. If it is still going on for more than a month an MRI may be helpful to help sort out what is going on and there could be other potential treatments outside of surgery that could benefit you.

In brief: Sciatica
Low back, buttock and "shooting" leg pain are all symptoms of a pinched nerve.
It sounds like you may have that problem. If the pain is severe and limiting your activity still, the best non-narcotic medications that I have found to work for my patients are antiinflammatories such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen which are over-the-counter medications. Other non-narcotic medications include tramadol (ultram) which requires a prescription and nerve-pain medications such as gabapentin. These are all to be taken for temporary pain relief. This type of pain typically resolves with time. Ask your primary physician about these if the pain is still limiting you. If it is still going on for more than a month an MRI may be helpful to help sort out what is going on and there could be other potential treatments outside of surgery that could benefit you.
Dr. Justin Esterberg
Dr. Justin Esterberg
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Dr. Qamar Khan
Pain Management
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Back ; Leg Pain
Sciatica is pain in the distribution of the leg as a result of an irritated nerve or facet joints or other injury typically in the lumbar spine (low back) which are caused by herniated disks, spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease, etc requiring further evaluation by a spine specialist and may be candidate for facet injections/radiofrequency ablation and epidural steroid injection.

In brief: Back ; Leg Pain
Sciatica is pain in the distribution of the leg as a result of an irritated nerve or facet joints or other injury typically in the lumbar spine (low back) which are caused by herniated disks, spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease, etc requiring further evaluation by a spine specialist and may be candidate for facet injections/radiofrequency ablation and epidural steroid injection.
Dr. Qamar Khan
Dr. Qamar Khan
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Dr. Andrew Kaufman
Neurosurgery
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Pain in the leg
Sciatica is symptoms of irritation of the sciatic nerve.
This is the longest nerve in the body and you have one going down each leg. Sciatica may be caused by an arthritic spur, a ruptured or herniated disc, or rarely a tumor that is pinching a nerve in the low back region.

In brief: Pain in the leg
Sciatica is symptoms of irritation of the sciatic nerve.
This is the longest nerve in the body and you have one going down each leg. Sciatica may be caused by an arthritic spur, a ruptured or herniated disc, or rarely a tumor that is pinching a nerve in the low back region.
Dr. Andrew Kaufman
Dr. Andrew Kaufman
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