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Definition of Sciatica

Sciatica: Pain that results from irritation of the sciatic nerve and typically radiates from the buttock to the back of the thigh. Although sciatica can result from a herniated disc pressing directly on the nerve, any cause of irritation or inflammation of this nerve can reproduce the painful symptoms of sciatica. Diagnosis is made via observation of symptoms, physical examination and nerve tests, and sometimes X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), if a herniated disk is suspected. Treatment options include avoiding movements that further irritate the condition, use of medication, physical therapy, and sometimes surgery.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=5418
Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012

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