Low back pain is an ache or discomfort in the area of the lower part of the spinal column that may radiate down into one or both legs. The lower spinal column consists of small, stacked bones (the vertebrae) that surround and protect the spinal cord and nerves.
Cross-section of Vertebral Canal with Spinal Cord in the Center
Sciatica is irritation of the sciatic nerve, which passes from the spinal cord to the buttocks down the back of each thigh. The sciatic nerve is composed of several nerve roots that arise from the lower spine on each side of the spinal column. These nerve bundles travel deep in the pelvis to the lower buttocks. From there, the nerve passes along the back of each upper leg and divides at the knee into branches that go to the feet.
Sciatica typically causes pain that shoots down the back of one thigh or buttock. Anything that causes irritation or puts pressure on the sciatic nerve can cause sciatica, including:
Herniated disc (ruptured or slipped disc)
In rare cases:
Benign or malignant tumors
Low back pain is very common, it is estimated that over the course of a lifetime 80% of Americans will suffer from at least one episode of back pain. Every year, about 15%-20% of the adults in the United States will report back pain. Most back pain gets better with time; about 5% to 10% of patients will continue to have pain for longer than three months.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a