co-written by Rick Olazabal, BSc, BN
Sciatica is the lovely name given to a condition wherein compression of the sciatic nerve leads to severe, stabbing pain that spreads from the buttocks to just below the knee—normally just on one side of the body.
The causes of sciatic pain are variable and encompass a wide range of underlying conditions like osteoarthritic bony spurs, disc herniation, trauma, narrowing of the spinal canal, spinal tumours, and chronic inflammation. Because nerves control muscle contraction, movement, pain, pressure, temperature any condition that affects a nerve will lead to a decrease of function in these areas (e.g. numbness, weakness, sharp/shooting pain etc.).