Sciatica describes pain that begins in the lower back, radiating into the buttock and down the back of one leg. Pain is often caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve from a herniated disc, bone spurs or muscle strain. You play an important role in the prevention, treatment, and recovery of sciatic pain. Sciatica pain typically improves with rest, exercise, and other self-care measures. Chronic pain that continues despite treatment may be helped with surgery to relieve the underlying cause.