Sciatica is the name given to nerve pain that travels down the back of the leg due to a problem in the lower back. There are a range of different causes of sciatica. In most cases, the condition gets better over time, either on its own or with treatment.
Sciatica occurs when pain radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve. This nerve starts in your lower spine, and travels through your hip and buttock and down the back of your leg to your foot.
The causes of sciatica include spinal injury or trauma, bone spurs or other growths, narrowing of the spinal canal, or tight or swollen muscles in the buttock. In many cases, people can’t pinpoint a specific injury that caused the condition.
Last reviewed: October 2016