Sciatica is a condition that results when the sciatic nerve becomes irritated, usually from being pinched by either a spinal bone (vertebra) out of alignment or from a bulging disc. The sciatic nerve is the biggest nerve in the body - about the size of your pinky finger! It is actually a bundle of nerves from made up from many different levels of the spine. The nerves branch off from the spinal cord and exit the spinal column between two verteabra. These nerves come together from spinal levels in your lower back called the lumbar vertebrae L3-5 and out of the sacrum from levels S1-4. If one of the vertebrae moves out of it's proper position or alignment, it can pinch one of the nerves making up the sciatic nerve. Chiropractors call this a subluxation - our jargon for when a bone is out of alignment, pinching a nerve. This can cause pain, numbness or tingling into the muscles of the buttocks, and down the leg and even into the feet and toes. These symptoms are usually what brings people into the chiropractor. Studies have shown 80% of the world's population with experience a severe episode of low back pain at some point in their lives. This can include sciatic pain. Sometimes, a pinched nerve will cause the sypmtoms only in the lower leg, foot, heel or big toe but the cause is still the pinched nerve in the lower back. Chiropractors use the symptoms to trace back where the nerve is being pinched so be sure to tell your chiropractor about all your health problems, even if you think they are unrelated to chiropractic.