Sciatic nerve pain is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve in the lumbar spine. This can cause pain in the lower back or send a radiating pain signal down the back of the leg. Common symptoms include:
- Lower back pain
- A “pins & needles” feeling
- A “pinched” feeling
Sciatica either occurs from a direct injury (fall, car or sports accident, etc.), or is more commonly symptomatic of postural disorders. The human spine is composed of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae. The sciatic nerve enters and exits the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae and Sacrum 1-3. It controls many muscles on the back side to the leg. The sciatic nerve sends electrical signals to muscles to fire. Without it you couldn’t use your legs. Think of a circuit breaker box, wiring and switches in your home or car. If a wire is damaged your lights and appliances won’t work. It’s very similar in the human body. When most people feel this pain it is not permanent damage and instead it is more likely that the compression of the nerve by the vertebral bone or nucleus pulposus can cause significant pain and irritation. However, the nerve can be damaged, but peripheral nerves can repair themselves once the compression and irritation is mitigated. Chronic sciatica could lead to nerve damage, which would feel like chronic burning, stabbing pain or tingling.