sciatica (sĪătˈĭkə) [key], severe pain in the leg along the sciatic nerve and its branches. It may be caused by injury or pressure to the base of the nerve in the lower back, or by metabolic, toxic, or infectious disease. Treatment is for the underlying condition; measures for the relief of pain include bed rest, immobilization of the leg, heat, and sedation.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.