We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Most Common Sciatic Nerve Injuries?

By Amanda Barnhart
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Sciatic nerve injuries are caused by pressure on or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back, through the buttock, and down the leg. Sciatica is characterized by lower back, buttock, and leg pain along the path of the sciatic nerve, which can last for weeks or months and may be accompanied by weakness, numbness, or tingling along the sciatic nerve. The most common sciatic nerve injuries are a result of disc problems, such as a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease. Other common causes of sciatica include spinal stenosis, isthmic spondylolisthesis, and piriformis syndrome.

Herniated discs are the primary cause of sciatic nerve injuries. When the soft inner portion of a spinal disc ruptures and leaks, the fluid can irritate the sciatic nerve as it pushes out through the outer portion of the disc. This condition is also referred to as a slipped disc, bulged disc, or ruptured disc. Most herniated discs do not happen suddenly. Repetitive movements and stress on the disc eventually causes it to rupture.

Degenerative disc disease is a condition that can lead to sciatic nerve injuries, and irritation from increased movement of the disc due to wear and tear. Spinal discs naturally wear and deteriorate with age, but people diagnosed with degenerative disc disease suffer from one or more discs in the lower back that wear down faster than normal. Their positioning in the lower areas of the spine make it more likely that they will irritate the sciatic nerve than people with disc problems in the upper spine or neck areas.

Spinal stenosis, a condition typically found in elderly adults, is characterized by a narrowing of the spinal canal. As the space between the spinal discs decreases as a result of stenosis, the discs may bulge and press on the sciatic nerve. Stenosis can also lead to additional soft tissue growth around the spine, which may irritate the sciatic nerve.

Isthmic spondylolisthesis can lead to a pinched sciatic nerve. Small fractures in the vertebrae that go undetected and untreated can eventually cause the affected vertebra to slip out of place. This compresses the space for the disc, which can pinch and injure the sciatic nerve.

Piriformis syndrome can lead to sciatic nerve injuries when the piriformis muscle in the buttock tightens and pinches against the sciatic nerve. The piriformis muscle runs from the lower spine to the thigh. Spasms can result from overuse, injury, or hip problems, triggering pressure on the sciatic nerve, which results in buttock and leg pain or numbness.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.