Sciatica is a term referring to pain running into the legs from the lower back. This can be an extremely painful and debilitating condition. It arises due to irritation to the nerve roots as they exit the lumbar spine, which join together to form the long sciatic nerve coursing down the leg, and hence pain into the leg.
The nerve roots are generally irritated by a prolapsed or bulging disc, what is sometimes referred to as a slipped disc. The sciatic nerve can also be irritated by muscle spasm of the piriformis muscle pinching the nerve as it tracks through the buttock, on route to the legs.
Pressure on the nerve roots or sciatic nerve can also cause numbness in the legs and feet, muscle weakness and muscle wasting of the legs.
In most instances chiropractic can be used in conjunction with medical care to help reduce the irritation to the nerve roots and sciatic nerve and alleviate the symptoms typical of this condition.