Lumbar Radiculopathy vs. Sciatica
Sciatica and lumbar radiculopathy are often used interchangeably to refer to inflammation or compression of the spinal nerve found in the lower back. Radiculopathy is the medical term used for the actual nerve dysfunction secondary to the compression. On the other hand, sciatica refers to the leg or back pain that results from lumbar radiculopathy.
Radiculopathy or radicular pain often radiates into the lower extremity (calf, thigh, and sometimes the foot) along a specific spinal nerve root. Sciatica is the most common symptom of radicular pain. With sciatica, leg pain is often worse than the pain in the back. When the higher lumbar nerve roots are compressed, radicular pain can be experienced in the shin and the front of the thigh.