Sciatica is also known as lumbosacral radiculitis or radiculopathy. The cause of the pain is usually from the lower lumbar spine due to herniated or bulging discs, spinal stenosis or facet hypertrophy, but could even come from muscles in the buttocks constricting the sciatic nerve, known as piriformis syndrome.
Pain from the sciatic nerve is usually felt as sharp, shooting, stabbing, burning, or electrical-shocking into one, or even both of the lower extremities. One may also feel numbness and tingling into the feet and toes. Movement may make the pain worse, but pain can also be exacerbated with sitting or even standing for prolonged periods.
The diagnosis of sciatica is made clinically by your doctor who will include a detailed history and physical examination, with special attention focused on a thorough neurological and musculoskeletal examination. Radiologic imaging may be necessary to aid in the diagnosis; which includes X-rays, bone scans, CT scans, and MRI.