What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition in which the sciatic nerve, which is located from the lower back to the feet, is irritated or compressed.

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica is caused by something pressing or rubbing on the sciatic nerve. This may be due to:

  • A slipped disc. This is the most common cause and it involves a soft cushion of tissue between the bones in the spine pushing out.
  • Spinal stenosis. This involves the part of the spine where nerves pass through becoming narrow.
  • Spondylolisthesis. This involves one of the bones in the spine slipping out of place.
  • A back injury.

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

Sciatica can cause a person’s bottom, back of the legs, feet and toes to feel painful, tingly, numb or weak. It can also cause back pain.

The symptoms may be worse when moving, sneezing or coughing but usually get better in 4-6 weeks.

Are you affected by sciatica?

If you’re affected by sciatica, The Brain Charity can support you.

We are the only charity in the UK to be here for every one of the more than 600 different neurological conditions in existence. Individually, many are rare, but combined, they affect 1 in 6 people.

We provide practical help on all aspects of living with sciatica, emotional support such as counselling, phone befriending and group therapy and social activities to people with brain injuries from all over the UK from our centre in Liverpool.

Looking to talk to someone?

Woman smiling, making eye contact and holding the hand of another woman to comfort her

Phone us

Contact The Brain Charity now

Our friendly Information & Advice Officers are here to help. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days.

0151 298 2999

Looking to talk to someone?

  • Please tell us which neurological condition you are affected by and what you need support with.

Caring for someone affected by sciatica

We support carers, friends and family too

Are you a carer for or relative of someone with sciatica? It’s just as important for you to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing too.

The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including sciatica, from anywhere in the UK.

We also run an additional carers advocacy service for all carers in Liverpool, regardless of which type of condition the person they care for has.

You don’t need to be a formal or registered carer

We can help you even if you don’t view yourself as a formal carer or claim Carer’s Allowance. Find out some of the ways we support carers below.

Other resources

The Brain Charity's library

The Brain Charity’s library has a range of resources on sciatica and on many other disability-related issues.

Support groups

UK Sciatica Pain Support

A Facebook group for those affected by sciatica.


Spinal Injuries Association Support Network Merseyside

Support groups at The Brain Charity

Are you interested in setting up a sciatica support group, or do you already run one? Email to let us know.

Alternatively, you can check out our list of related support groups here.

Other charities

Pain Relief Foundation


Spinal Injuries Association