Feeling a Pain in the Groin? It Could Be Sciatica

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a man suffering from groin pain

Have you ever felt a sharp, shooting pain in your lower back that travels down your leg all the way to your groin? This radiating pain is a tell-tale sign of sciatica, a condition caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve.

At Kaly, we understand how debilitating nerve pain can be. Our mission is to empower you to make informed decisions about your healthcare by providing accurate, unbiased information. In this article, we’ll explore the link between sciatica and groin pain, and give you the tools to find relief.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated. This major nerve travels from your lower back down through your hips and buttocks, branching down the back of each leg all the way to your feet. Approximately 40% of people will get sciatica, and it becomes more frequent as you age.

When something places pressure on the sciatic nerve, it can cause pain, numbness or weakness along the nerve’s path. Common causes include a herniated disk, bone spurs, or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis). Piriformis syndrome is another cause, where the piriformis muscle in the buttock compresses the nerve.

Sciatica’s trademark symptom is radiating pain that starts in the lower back, travels through the buttocks and down the back of the leg.

Can Sciatica Cause Pain in the Groin?

Sciatica can cause pain and discomfort in the glutes and groin, and sufferers of this condition may experience pain in their inner thighs, lower abdominal ache, anal pain, as well as pain and discomfort in and around the genital area

The sciatic nerve supplies sensation to the lower back, buttocks, thighs, legs, and feet. When pinched, damaged, or obstructed, it causes errant signals to be shot down the leg. This may cause pain and even groin numbness. 

However, numbness in the groin can also be caused by other conditions such as herniated disc, neuropathy, and medical conditions that damage the nerves.

How Do I Differentiate Between Sciatica and Other Causes of Groin Pain?

Differentiating between sciatica and other causes of groin pain requires carefully evaluating the location and nature of the symptoms. While both can cause pain that radiates down the leg, sciatica has some distinct characteristics:

  • The pain from sciatica follows the path of the sciatic nerve, radiating from the lower back down the back of the leg and into the foot or toes. Other causes of groin pain may radiate down the front or inner thigh.
  • Sciatica often causes numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. This is less common with other types of groin pain.
  • People with sciatica usually experience pain in the lower back or buttocks as well, which may feel sharp and shooting. Groin pain from other causes is more likely to be localized to the groin area.
  • Sciatica can lead to burning or tingling sensations in the leg, thigh, or foot. Other groin pain is less likely to have these sensory symptoms.
  • Sciatica may cause muscle weakness and difficulty walking. Other groin pain generally does not lead to muscle weakness.

Carefully considering the location, sensations, and other symptoms can help determine whether groin and leg pain is caused by sciatica or another condition requiring different treatment.

Does Sciatica Impact the Groin Area More in Certain Individuals?

Women are more likely to experience groin pain from sciatica, as endometriosis can compress the sciatic nerve within the pelvis near the groin region. 

Diagnosing pain affecting the groin and legs in women can be challenging, and doctors may suggest tests such as X-rays, imaging scans, or bloodwork to look for signs of infection. The type of pain and when they experience it may give clues about the cause of the experienced pain on the groin area.

How to Relieve Groin Pain Caused by Sciatica

piriformis stretch for groin pain

Sciatica can sometimes cause pain that radiates down the leg and into the groin area. Here are some tips for relieving groin pain caused by sciatica:

Exercises and stretchesKnees-to-chest stretch: Lie flat on back, bring knees to chest, wrap arms around knees. Helps relieve sciatica pain caused by issues in soft tissues. 
Seated glute stretch: Sit on floor/chair with legs out front, bend right leg with ankle on left knee. Lean forward, reach toward the thigh. Hold 15-30 seconds each side. Helps relieve sciatica pain. 
Piriformis stretch: Sit with legs bent parallel, put the ankle of the pinched side on the other knee. Lie flat, pull knee toward face. Hold 30 seconds each side. Helps relieve sciatica pain.
Heat and cold therapyHeat helps relax tight muscles irritating sciatic nerves. Cold packs relieve inflammation and numb pain. Alternate heat and ice for 15-20 minutes each. Most sciatica patients are advised to use one or both at home or in physical therapy.
Over-the-counter medicationsNSAIDs can help reduce inflammation causing sciatica pain.
Prescription medicationsMuscle relaxants can help calm lower back spasms. Antidepressants can block nerve signals for pain in some sciatica cases.
Alternative treatmentsAcupuncture, acupressure, and biofeedback may provide pain relief for some patients. Yoga and meditation can relax muscles.
Other tipsUse proper posture and maintain healthy weight to reduce pressure on the lower back and sciatic nerve. Sleep with a pillow between your knees or use a lumbar support cushion.

The Bottom Line

a doctor explains the cause of groin pain to his patient

Sciatica can definitely cause pain and numbness to radiate down into the groin region. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, don’t ignore them. Seek medical attention to get properly diagnosed. Treatments like medication, injections, stretches and chiropractic care can provide relief.

At Kaly, we make it easy to find highly-rated healthcare providers in your area. Our mission is to empower you to make informed decisions to find the right treatment for your sciatica and groin pain. We believe that everyone deserves access to the highest quality care.

Sign up today for your free Kaly account and take control of your health. With our transparent reviews, you can quickly filter top local doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors and pain specialists. Read verified patient stories to find a compassionate provider who’s the perfect fit.

Schedule appointments directly through the Kaly app and even video chat with providers to ask questions. We’ll match you with the right treatment plan, giving you confidence and peace of mind. No more guesswork in finding help for your sciatica and groin pain.

Join our community and let’s navigate healthcare decisions together. At Kaly, we’re here to support you every step of the way towards finding relief.


Q1: Does the sciatic nerve run through the groin?

The sciatic nerve passes under the gluteal muscles and near the groin, but not directly through the groin itself. However, it innervates the thigh and sensations from sciatica can radiate down into the groin.

Q2: Can sciatica be felt in the groin?

Since the sciatic nerve runs through the buttock and near the groin, irritation of this nerve can cause symptoms like pain, numbness or tingling to be felt in the groin area. These sensations may radiate down from the lower back.

Q3: Can sciatica cause groin and leg pain?

Sciatica can cause pain that radiates from the lower back all the way down the leg into the groin and down the calf. This occurs because the compressed sciatic nerve runs through the buttock and down the back of each leg.

Q4: Does sciatica cause pelvic pain?

Yes, sciatica can sometimes cause pain in the pelvic region, hips and groin. This occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed as it passes near the pelvis. Pelvic pain from sciatica may feel like an electric shock radiating down from the lower back.