Sciatic nerve pain, or sciatica, can be caused by degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, lumbar spinal stenosis or pregnancy, according to WebMD. Sciatica can be exacerbated by obesity, lack of regular exercise, sleeping on a mattress that isn't firm enough or wearing high-heeled shoes.
Degenerative disc disease is characterized by the breakdown of the discs that ordinarily work to cushion the vertebrae in the back, while spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebra slips forward onto another vertebrae. The narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back region causes lumber spinal stenosis. All of these conditions are common and affect the sciatic nerve, which is a large nerve that extends from the lower back down the backs of the legs states WebMD.
The pain caused by sciatica includes shooting pain that might make it hard to walk, constant pain on one side of the buttocks, tingling or burning pain that runs down the leg, or pain in the leg or rear that gets worse when sitting down. Other symptoms of the condition include difficulty moving the foot or leg or weakness or numbness in the legs or feet. Often, sciatica just affects the lower body on one side, and depending on the exact location of the nerve problem, the pain can move all the way into the toes.