medical symbolWe Accept All Major
Insurance Carriers!
Verify Coverage

Call Today (877) 931-0414


The Ultimate Back Pain Relief Tips Blog

What Is Sciatica?

Posted by Illinois Back Institute on Wed, Oct 25, 2017 @ 05:07 PM

Sciatica.gifOver the years we've received a lot of emails from people who were asking, "What is Sciatica exactly?" So we're going to answer that question!

Exactly what IS Sciatica anyway?

First and foremost, it is important to define the term "Sciatica." Many people think Sciatica is the cause of their pain, but in actuality it is a symptom. There are multiple causes of Sciatica occurring.

Call 844-265-2268 to Schedule a Free Consultation 

The term Sciatica comes from the Sciatic Nerve, which runs from your lower spine all the way down your legs and to your feet. It is the largest nerve in the human body, and Sciatica occurs when this nerve is pinched. It's actually about as thick as your thumb! That explains why when it is pinched it can cause SEVERE pain.

  • sciatica_image_2-resized-600-1The Sciatic Nerve is so large because it is a combination of 5 different nerve roots

The Spine is made up of 24 vertebrae, and each of those vertebra is separated by a disc. Also, between each vertebra nerve roots exit off of the spinal cord and travel through the vertebrae and then throughout the body. These nerves are the communication pathways of the body. The nerves in the neck and upper spine travel into the arms and the nerves in the lower spine go into the legs.

To understand what these 5 nerve roots are and what they do, a brief description of the spine is necessary. Let's start at the top: the Brain. The brain is the information processing center, it sits on top of the spine, and is protected by the skull. At the very bottom of the brain is the brain stem, which is what connects the brain to the spinal cord as it enters the spine.

  • The five nerve roots that exit at the lowest part of the spine are: L4, L5, S1, S2, and S3
  • These five nerve roots join together after they exit the spine and form the Sciatic Nerve
  • When any of these five nerve roots get pinched, the result is Sciatica

Sciatica_2You are beginning to see how complicated Sciatica can be, since it can occur when any of those five nerve roots is pinched. Now you see that Sciatica is the "what", not the "why". The why comes from the symptoms associated with those five nerve roots, and each nerve root is associated with a different type of symptom.

Since the Sciatic Nerve begins in the lower back and travels all the way down the leg to the big toe, the most common symptom of Sciatica is pain that radiates down the leg.


At the Illinois Back Institute we strive to educate people as much as possible about their back, neck, and sciatica pain, because it has been proven that the more people know about their pain the more likely they will be to get rid of it!

Our 9 Step Solution specializes in treating the causes of back pain and sciatica. Are you ready to put an end to your pain? Schedule a Free Consultation by calling us at 844-265-2268 or click here!


This email is one part of our Free 10 part Sciatica Email Series. If you found the information in this email helpful or insightful, you can sign up to receive the whole series by simply clicking the button below and filling out the form:

New Call-to-action

Also, if you would like to learn more about your back, neck, and sciatica pain and how to eliminate it, we are holding a LIVE Back Pain and Sciatica Relief Webinar next Wednesday at Noon! Just click on the link below for information on how to register for the Webinar: 

New Call-to-action



Disclaimer: The content on this web site is for information purposes only and should never be used as the basis for diagnosis or treatment. We always recommend consulting a qualified professional before embarking on any form of self treatment or rehabilitation.

All content is protected by the usual copyright laws and cannot be used, stolen or reproduced for any purpose without Illinois Back Institute permission. Please feel free to call about anything although we are unable to give advice on any specific injuries or conditions over the phone.