The term sciatica describes leg pain with or without back pain. It may be accompanied by other symptoms including tingling, burning and weakness in the leg. It is generally one sided and typically involves the buttock and the back of the leg up to the ankle or the foot. Most patients with sciatica improve within 6 to 12 weeks and do not need any specific treatment except painkillers. In some patients sciatica may persist and become more intrusive with daily activities.
90% of cases sciatica is caused by a herniated disc with nerve root compression, but lumbar stenoses and less often, tumours are possible causes. An estimated 5%-10% of patients with low back pain have sciatica, whereas the reported lifetime prevalence of low back pain ranges from 49% to 70%.