6 Women Describe What Sciatica Pain Actually Feels Like

by Reaca Pearl

If you've ever had sciatica pain, it's safe to assume you're no stranger to the unique brand of misery and potential debilitation that it brings. I've experienced sciatica pain prior to experiencing pregnancy, but growing a human being inside my body definitely intensified that pain. So, and since misery loves company, I thought I'd ask others to describe what sciatica pain actually feels like.

I can safely say I've felt variations of sciatica pain, both pregnancy-related and not. In my experience, they're all their own unique brand of hell. Perhaps the worst, however, is the sharp, stabbing, ice-pic-through-my-hip-joint pain. This particularly excruciating experience is generally sudden, which definitely makes matters worse. It will take me off guard and cause me to lose my balance to the point I'm stumbling or outright falling to the floor. This is the sciatica pain that keeps me up at night, because forget trying to sleep through it. No position is even tolerable, let alone comfortable. No matter the stretches I attempt or the pregnancy support belts I've worn, nothing helps this pain subside.

If you're asking yourself, "What is the big deal? It's just some hip pain," then you have clearly never felt sciatica pain. But if you can imagine a long, sharp, pointy scalpel inching its way between the ball and socket of your hip joint and then slowly, but consistently, attempting to pry your hip apart from your body, you'll begin to get an idea of the pain the following people were kind enough to describe:


"For me, it's an ache that can concern my butt, my hip, and all down my thigh, depending on the day and time. I've had some luck with relief when I remember to do a hip focused yoga sequence every day, but sometimes that just doesn't happen."


"It was always something I thought a grandma would complain about, like bunions. I didn't know what it was until a doctor told me that's what was causing me pain. The worst is when I wake up and can't walk right. As I amble like Quasimodo, I wonder how it will be in a decade. It feels like I need to get back to yoga."

Jamie, 34

"Like a steady dull ache punctuated by the feeling of unexpectedly getting a cattle prod to the ass. So, you know, really fun."


"Pain like a cramp, with intermittent electricity down my butt cheek."


"For me, it was fine if I didn't move. [But if I moved] one millimeter it felt as though someone was stabbing me. In the butt. With giant knives. I was unable to get up off the floor a few times, so I resorted to just resting on the dog bed for a while. That pain is no joke. Thank goodness that, between acupuncture and chiropractic, I was eventually fixed right up."


"I have degenerating disc disease that's caused sciatica since I was a teenager. During flareups, it feels like I can't stretch my leg far enough to make the pain stop. I get shooting pains that feel like a needle shooting from the top of my pelvis through my leg and into my knee. Other times my leg just goes numb. The worst part about back pain is that there's no real cure, besides medication, because there's no real way to take weight off your back."