Health professionals include sciatica when discussing lumbago, which is a blanket term for lower back pain, notes Spine-health. Specifically, sciatica is lumbar radiculopathy, meaning that the nerve problem causing sciatica originates in the lower spine, but the pain and other symptoms radiate down to the buttock, leg or foot.
Sciatica has several possible causes, but all of them involve some part of the lumbar spine causing irritation of or injury to the sciatic nerve, notes Spine-health. Lumbago has many causes, and the anatomy involved is much more diverse.
Diagnosis of what causes lumbago is difficult because illness and injury that affect bone, nerves, muscles, tendons and ligaments all potentially contribute to lower back pain, notes Spine-health. Spinal discs in particular are subject to irritation and injury. Referred pain further confuses the matter.