The sciatic nerve starts from several branches of your spinal cord, comes together to run down the back of your leg, and splits at the knee, then runs down the rest of your leg.
When this nerve is injured, people experience a sharp shooting pain anywhere along its course.Sciatica in and of itself is not a diagnosis.
Just like a runny nose can mean allergies, the flu or a cold, sciatica is a symptom of another problem.
The most commonly known problem is a disc herniation. This is where material from the spaces between your vertebrae is pushed back and to the side, putting pressure on the nerve. Most people will experience pain going down into the back of the leg, often below the knee and into the foot.
Another common cause of sciatic nerve pain is a tight muscle in the buttocks called the piriformis. Because the sciatic nerve travels under and/or through the piriformis, if this muscle is tight, it can cause sciatic nerve pain. More commonly this pain only goes to the level of the knee and no further.
It is possible to have pain into the glutes and into the front of the leg that have nothing to do with the sciatic nerve!
My point is this: if you are having back pain, and it travels or radiates anywhere, it may not be your sciatic nerve, and it may also not be the end of the world!
Often it's not the worst case scenario — and a little bit of treatment with exercises will solve the problem!
So the next time you hear someone say their sciatica is really bad, tell them it could be a quick fix!