What causes sciatica?

UCSF Radiologist Dr. Hess describes what causes spinal disorders such as sciatica.
Radicular Pain
  • Many Causes
    • Discs
    • Bony spurts (osteophytes)
    • Scar (after surgery)
    • Sometimes other things
  • One or more nerve roots 
  • Locations
    • Within the spinal canal
    • Within the neural foramen
    • Extra-spinal

Sciatica describes the clinical syndrome of back pain that radiates down the leg or neck pain that radiates into the arms. 


Chief of Neuroradiology
Associate Chair for Quality and Safety
Co-Director, Neuroimaging RIG
Professor, Clinical Radiology

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