Sciatica pain is severe pain in the leg, often below the knee, secondary to a disc prolapse of one of the lower lumbar discs. There are other sciatica causes and the same process can occur in a nerve elsewhere, most commonly in the arm, so the overall condition is more properly known as a nerve root lesion, or nerve root compression.
Sciatica symptoms are often severe, with surging pain running down the leg and being most severe at the lower calf and foot. Feeling, reflexes and muscle power may be affected.
A sciatica cure is an unrealistic idea in most cases as sciatica treatment mostly involves waiting for the nerve to settle down whilst doing the right things and avoiding the wrong things. Sciatica stretches are often advised but trying to stretch the sciatic nerve may never be wise and especially unwise in the acute period when it is very likely to increase the pain greatly.
Lower back pain or lumbago may also be part of the symptom pattern and the person may have had back pain for many years. However, sciatica can occur without back pain being present. Of the times of occurrence of sciatica, pregnancy is one of the more common and can be disabling for a new mother. A physiotherapist specialising in women's health can be useful for positioning, advice, mobilising exercises and information.
Of the resources on sciatica, emedicine is one of the most easily accessed as the web has a lot of relevant and reliable sites. More information is available on sciatica at NHS Choices and Wikipedia's Sciatica page.