Sciatica can be a painful and debilitating problem that commonly interferes with walking, standing, sitting, and sleeping. In some cases, it is difficult to find any comfortable position at all. Along with pain, symptoms such as throbbing, numbness, weakness, and “pins-and-needles” can also be present.
Sciatica refers to pain that develops as a result of compression or irritation of this nerve. As the nerve travels down along the back of the hip, thigh, knee, and calf it must pass between -and in some cases through -the muscles of these regions. As long as the nerve is able to freely glide the nerve remains healthy. However, if the nerve becomes compressed or irritated at any point along its path from the spine to the foot, Sciatica pain can develop.
There are specific areas where the nerve is more prone to entrapment. One of the most common areas of entrapment is in the hip. The nerve travels alongside (and in some cases through) muscles of the hip including the piriformis. In this case, the diagnosis would be Piriformis Syndrome.
As the Sciatic nerve travels further down the leg, it is also very common for entrapment to occur at the hamstring muscle and at the top of the calf as the nerve passes through the Soleus muscle. These are all locations where the sciatic nerve can become entrapped.