Sciatica is characterized by pain that runs along the path of the sciatic nerve, usually traveling from the lower back and buttocks and the back, outer side of the leg, sometimes as far as the foot.

Symptoms of sciatica include pain, burning, tingling, stabbing, and aching anywhere along the path of the sciatic nerve. In severe cases, the pain may be associated with weakness. Typically, sciatic symptoms are recurring unless the cause is found and treated.

Distinguishing between sciatic neuralgia and sciatic neuritis is essential for proper treatment. In cases of sciatic neuritis, the pain is due to inflammation of the nerve pathway, whereas in sciatic neuralgia the pain is usually caused by an irritation of the nerve due to disk, bone, and/or muscle dysfunction.

Sometimes chronic musculoskeletal pain may be due to low thyroid conditions, nutrient deficiencies, old injuries in associated joints that never healed completely or correctly, referred pain from problems in internal organs, and/or emotional stress.

Insufficient exercise and weak and/or tense, cramped muscles can create the imbalances that ultimately result in sciatica.