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What is sciatica?

Sciatica, or to give it its technical term, lumbar radiculopathy, describes symptoms felt in the leg because of a problem with the nerves that come from the lower back. The symptoms can include a sharp shooting pain, pins and needles, numbness, tingling or burning. In more severe cases, weakness in some of the muscles of the leg can occur, which may cause problems with walking. The nerves are usually affected because of a problem with the lower back, so back pain is often felt at the same time, but sciatica can occur on its own. The pain of sciatica is most commonly felt in the buttock, back of the thigh, outside of the calf and the foot. Sufferers tend to find that sitting is the most uncomfortable activity, with bending usually also being affected.