Sciatica is a symptom, which refers to pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg. It is fairly common and caused by some kind of injury or pressure on the sciatic nerve, which is a large nerve extending from the lower back through the hips and buttocks down the back of the legs. The symptoms of Sciatica are leg pain, which feels like a terrible leg cramp, or it can be unbearable, shooting pain that makes standing or sitting nearly impossible. It usually affects only one side of the body.

Cause or Possible Risk Factors

  • Irritation of the nerve root(s) of the lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back)
  • Herniated disc
  • Slipped disk when the soft part of the disc bulges through the circle of connective tissue and push on the spinal cord or on the nerve roots
  • Degenerative disc disease (breakdown of discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae)
  • Degenerative arthritis due to wear and tear of the vertebral bones
  • Spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips forward over another one)
  • Pressure exerted on the sciatic nerve or its nerve roots by a slipped disc in the back
  • Piriformis syndrome (a pain disorder involving the narrow muscle in the buttocks)
  • Pelvic injury or fracture
  • Poor posture, muscle strain or spasm
  • Pregnancy
  • Overweight, lack of regular exercise, wearing high heels, or sleeping on a mattress that is too soft
  • Tumours


  • Burning or tingling sensation down the leg
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • Severe or shooting pain in one leg that may make it difficult to stand up or walk
  • Lower back pain, if experienced at all, is not as severe as leg pain
  • Constant pain in only one side of the buttock or leg, but rarely both the right and left sides
  • Pain that originates in the low back or buttock and continues along the path of the sciatic nerve - down the back of the thigh and into the lower leg and foot
  • Pain that feels better when patients lie down or are walking but worsens when standing or sitting
  • Depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain and other symptoms may also include foot pain or pain in the toes

For more information on the conditions we treat and services we offer, or to book an appointment please call us on 416 489 5313 (Finch) / 416 604 4404 (Jane) or email us at

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