The sciatic nerve is comprised of a bundle of smaller nerve fibers exiting the lower lumbar spine and traveling down through the pelvis and into the legs. Any pinching or entrapment of this nerve by nearby structures can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms.
It is common for a pinched sciatic nerve to cause buttock pain, especially in the area where the sciatic nerve enters the pelvis and crosses (or meshes) with the piriformis muscle.
The sciatic nerve runs down the back of the leg. Thus, any irritation of the nerve, including irritation caused by sciatic nerve impingement, can cause pain and irritation down the back of the leg and even down into the toes.
A pinched sciatic nerve, in addition to causing leg pain, can cause numbness in the leg if the nerve fibers are sufficiently irritated or impinged. Leg numbness often alternates with episodes of leg pain.
Lower Back Pain
The nerve fibers that eventually join together to make up the sciatic nerve exit the lower lumbar spine area of the back. These nerve roots can often become irritated by a bulging or herniated disc and cause lower back pain. This pain can often travel from the lower back down the sciatic nerve into the leg.
It is quite common for sciatic nerve pain, including pain caused by a pinched sciatic nerve, to be mistaken for hip pain. This is normally due to entrapment of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle, which is a short, thick muscle that attaches to the hip and can irritate and inflame the sciatic nerve.