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Symptoms of sciatica usually, but not always, start with acute low back pain radiating down into the buttocks, back of the thigh and into the legs. Sciatic pain may be a sharp pain accompanied by tingling, pins and needles or numbness, which is often triggered by a minor movement such as bending over to pick something up.

Sciatica is a result of pressure on the sciatic nerve, which can be caused by a slipped disc (also known as a herniated or prolapsed disc), disc degeneration (which is wear and tear), or muscle tension (for example, from piriformis syndrome). Rarely, something less common, such as a tumors, bony growths called stenosis or infections of the spine, can cause sciatic symptoms.