The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that branches from the lower back into the hips and buttocks, branches out again at the knees, and runs down each leg to the feet. Sciatica refers to pain that is associated with the sciatic nerve on one or both sides. It is usually triggered with a herniated disc in the lumbar spine, but there are other causes.
- spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spaces in the spine that places pressure on the nerve),
- degenerative disc disease due to aging or disease,
- spondylolisthesis (one vertebra slips forward),
- bone spurs,
- obesity that leads to pressure on the sciatic nerve,
- tumors and weak back muscles due to lack of exercise.
Even poor posture or wearing high heeled shoes can trigger sciatica because these behaviors lead to spinal misalignment.