At Colorado Spine Institute, we’ve treated many patients who were suffering from sciatica, and one of the first questions many of them asked was, “What is sciatica?” or, “What is the cause of sciatica?” To answer the first question, we must understand the sciatic nerve and its purpose and placement in the body. Only then can we help a patient understand the excruciating pain they may be feeling in one or both of their legs.

The Sciatic Nerve

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, and it begins in the lumbar spine and extends through the buttock area. It sends nerve endings down through both legs, and pain is often caused by a slipped or bulging disc in the lumbar spine that is pressing on the sciatic nerve. This pain can feel like a minor leg cramp, or it might be unbearable, shooting pains that render the person unable to stand or walk.

Sciatica is the term used to describe the symptoms caused by a pinched sciatic nerve. Our expert staff will thoroughly examine your lower back using X-ray, MRI, or discograms if necessary, and once the cause of the pain is determined, they will recommend the proper course of treatment. The goal is to reduce pain and increase mobility, and this goal can be achieved through medication, physical therapy, spinal injections, or surgery.

No one wants to live with severe back pain, and if you’re concerned your sciatic nerve may be pinched, please make an appointment with us right away.