Q: Is sciatic nerve pain something I just have to put up with?
A: No, sciatic pain does not have to be a chronic condition. The medical condition called “sciatica” is a major cause of work absenteeism and a major financial burden to both employers and our health care system. Your sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body. It begins as a bundle of nerves in your lower back and passes through your pelvis and down the back of each thigh. In the back of the thigh, the sciatic nerve splits into two smaller nerves called the tibial nerve and the peroneal nerve. The sciatic nerve carries impulses from nerves in your lower back to the muscles and nerves in buttocks, thighs, and lower legs. Sciatic pain consists of leg pain, which feels like a ‘pinched nerve’ or cramp, that can shoot down your leg to your foot, making sitting or standing very painful. Sciatica can occur suddenly, or develop gradually. You might feel a numbness, or a burning or tingling (“pins and needles”) sensation in your legs or toes.