William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- Sciatica facts
- What is sciatica?
- What are causes of sciatica?
- What are risk factors for sciatica?
- What are sciatica symptoms?
- How is sciatica diagnosed?
- What are treatment options for sciatica?
- What is the outlook (prognosis) for patients with sciatica?
- Can sciatica be prevented?
- Pictures of Sciatica - Slideshow
- Pictures of Back Pain Myths & Facts - Slideshow
- Pictures of Nerve Pain - Slideshow
- Patient Comments: Sciatica - Causes
- Patient Comments: Sciatica - Medications
- Patient Comments: Sciatica - Describe Your Experience
- Patient Comments: Sciatica - Pain
- Find a local Orthopedic Surgeon in your town
- Sciatica is nerve pain from irritation of the sciatic nerve.
- The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body.
- Sciatica pain is typically felt from the low back to behind the thigh and radiating down below the knee.
- Treatments for sciatica depend on the underlying cause and the severity of the pain.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is pain in the lower extremity resulting from irritation of the sciatic nerve. The pain of sciatica is typically felt from the low back (lumbar area) to behind the thigh and radiating down below the knee. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and begins from nerve roots in the lumbar spinal cord in the low back and extends through the buttock area to send nerve endings down the lower limb. The pain of sciatica is sometimes referred to as sciatic nerve pain.
What are causes of sciatica?
While sciatica is most commonly a result of a lumbar disc herniation directly pressing on the nerve, any cause of irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve can reproduce the symptoms of sciatica. This irritation of nerves as a result of an abnormal intervertebral disc is referred to as radiculopathy. Aside from a pinched nerve from a disc, other causes of sciatica include irritation of the nerve from adjacent bone, tumors, muscle, internal bleeding, infections, injury, and other causes. Sometimes sciatica can occur because of irritation of the sciatic nerve during pregnancy.
Picture of a herniated disc, a common cause of sciatica
Viewers share their comments
Chronic Pain/Back Pain
Find tips and advances in treatment.