The pain radiates down your leg
“By strict definition, sciatica refers to pain produced by damage to, pressure on, or inflammation of the sciatic nerve,” says Robert Gotlin, DO, a sports and spine physician in NYC and an associate professor of rehabilitation medicine and orthopedics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. This nerve, the longest and widest in the body, runs from the lower back, travels deep into the buttocks, down the back of each leg, to the soles of the feet and the big toes. However, according to Dr. Gotlin, the term sciatica has become synonymous with the presence of any pain that originates in the lower back or buttock and then travels to the thigh, leg, or foot. Learn more about the different kinds of leg pain and which ones are serious.
The pain feels like a burning or electrical sensation
“Nerves are very similar to electrical circuits, and the sensation from sciatica is similar to what happens if you touch a live electrical wire,” explains Dr. Gotlin. The pain from sciatica symptoms can be so intense that it’s tough to walk or stand. Less often the pain feels like a dull sensation. “It depends on how much damage there is to the sciatic nerve,” says Dr. Gotlin. Here are other possible causes of your back pain.