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by Smoots E


Sciatica is caused by irritation or pressure on the sciatic nerve. This can be the result of:
  • Herniated disk—the cushions between the bones of your spine bulge and press on the nerve as it exits the spinal column
  • Arthritis in the lower back
  • Spinal stenosis—narrowing of the spinal canal in the lumbar area
  • Spondylolisthesis—slippage of a bone in the lower back
  • Cauda equina syndrome—nerve roots at the base of the spinal cord are compressed
  • Piriformis syndrome— spasm of piriformis muscle

Risk Factors

Sciatica is more common in men. Other factors that may increase your risk of sciatica include:
Lifestyle and personal health factors, such as:
Occupational factors, such as:
  • Heavy manual labor
  • Heavy lifting
  • Exposure to vibrations
  • A job that requires standing for long periods of time and forward bending
Health conditions, such as:
  • Fractures in the back
  • Tumors
  • Infections
  • Metabolic problems, such as diabetes


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke



Canadian Association of General Surgeons

Health Canada



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Sciatica. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: Updated October 2007. Accessed November 26, 2013.

Sciatica. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated November 22, 2013. Accessed November 26, 2013.

Sciatica. Postgrad Med. 1997;102.

Waddell G, Feder G, Lewis M. Systematic reviews of bed rest and advice to stay active for acute low back pain. Br J Gen Pract. 1997;47:647-652.

6/7/2007 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Peul WC, van Houwelingen HC, van den Hout WB, et al. Surgery versus prolonged conservative treatment for sciatica. N Engl J Med. 2007;356:2245-2256.


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