The sciatic nerve is a bundle of multiple nerves exiting from your lower lumbar spine and sacrum (L4-S3). This nerve bundle is responsible for the muscular control of your hamstrings and all the muscles of the lower leg (below the knee). It also supplies sensation to the back of the thigh, lower leg and the sole of the foot. Sciatica is essentially a lesion (irritation or damage) to the sciatic nerve. This will cause pain, tingling or numbness in the low back, buttocks, back of the thigh, the lower leg and bottom of the foot. It can also cause spasm or weakness in the hamstrings and lower leg muscles. The hallmark of sciatica is essentially altered function and / or sensation affecting a lower extremity past the knee.
If you have low back pain that runs down the back of the thigh but not past the knee there are a couple of other conditions and scenarios that can mimic sciatica. Some of the more benign conditions are Piriformis Syndrome which is where the sciatic nerve is compressed by the piriformis muscle; the underlying cause of this could be restricted range-of-motion in the sacroiliac joints. This restriction leads to a potentially different condition of inflammation of the sacroiliac joint; Sacroilitis.
The first step towards treating this pain is identifying what the cause. This requires the help of a Chiropractor, Orthopedist, Osteopath, or other primary healthcare physician. If you live in the greater Seattle area make an appointment with Lifestyle Chiropractic in Greenlake and our team of top rated care providers.