Q:

What is the anatomy of a sciatic nerve?

A:

Quick Answer

Five spinal nerve roots come together to make up the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the human body. The sciatic nerve branches to form both the tibial and common fibular nerves.

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Full Answer

Nerve roots are branches of the spinal cord that exit the main cord, as two pairs, at each level of the vertebra. The five nerve roots that combine to form the sciatic nerve emerge from the lumbar and sacral areas of the lower spine. The sciatic nerve extends from the region of the pelvis and down the back of the thigh. Near the back of the knee the sciatic nerve branches to form the tibial and common fibular nerves. The tibial nerve innervates the back of the lower leg, while the fibular nerve serves the front and side. Most of the lower leg and the skin of the foot owe their sensation and movement to the sciatic nerve.

The sciatic nerve is not actually in contact with the spine. When the spine does touch the sciatic nerve it causes sciatica, a type of nerve pain specific to this nerve. Ruptured discs, bone spurs, pinched nerves and arthritis are potential causes of sciatica. Treatment for sciatica typically involves exercise and medication to relieve pain. Given rest and relaxation of the nerve, sciatica often improves or abates completely.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Where is the sciatic nerve located in your body?

    A:

    The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that begins in the lower back and runs through the buttocks and down the leg. Its origin is near the sacral plexus, and its distal end divides into the tibial nerve and the common fibular nerve.

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  • Q:

    What is the path of the sciatic nerve?

    A:

    The sciatic nerve originates in the lower spine with nerve roots that exit the spinal cord, and it extends down the back of the body from the legs to the toes, notes Spine-Health.com. It exits the spinal cord through gaps in the bones found in the lower spine.

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    How do I describe how a spinal nerve exits from the vertebral column?

    A:

    Each spinal nerve exits the vertebral column through a small hole, or foramen, on the side of the corresponding vertebrae, CNS-Visual Perspectives explains. The cervical nerves in the upper part of the spine exit above the vertebrae, while the nerves below the seventh cervical vertebrae exit below.

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    What does the nerve in the at the C5 and C6 discs control?

    A:

    Cervical spinal nerve 6 originates from the spinal column through intervertebral foramen above cervical vertebra 6. According to Spine-Health, the C6 nerve controls the wrist extensor muscles that control wrist extension and hyperextension, which include the extensor carpi radialis longus, extensor carpi radialis brevis and extensor carpi ulnaris. The C6 also works in conjunction with the C5 nerve to innervate the biceps brachii.

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