Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Sciatica
Illustration copyright 2000 by
Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, formed by nerve roots coming out of the spinal cord in the lower back. The nerve goes down through the buttock, then its branches extend down the back of the leg to the ankle and foot.
A herniated disc may
compress one or more of the nerve roots that form the sciatic nerve. Pressure
on one of these nerve roots will often produce distinctive symptoms of
sciatica, such as pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling
in the affected leg.
Although a herniated disc is the most common
cause of sciatica, sciatica can also be a symptom of other problems, such as
narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis), nerve root compression
resulting from injury, and certain rare tumors.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerRobert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
Current as ofJune 4, 2014
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.