What is Sciatica? Mike Tyson is Sometimes Unable to Talk and Walk Due to Nerve Condition

Mike Tyson is suffering from sciatica, a nerve-impacting condition, which sometimes leaves him unable to talk and walk. The former heavyweight champion was pictured last month in a wheelchair and clutching a walking stick at an airport.

In an interview with Newsmax TV, Tyson revealed that he has sciatica every now and then. He shared that the condition flares up every now and then, and when it does so, he can't even talk. The 56-year-old said this is the only health problem he has.

Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson revealed that he has sciatica every now and then. AFP

The former world champion on his podcast Hotboxin' with Mike Tyson had said we are all going to die someday. "When I look in the mirror, I see those little dots on my face and I say, 'Wow, that means my expiration date is coming up pretty soon'."

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica, according to NHS, is where the nerve which runs from the lower back to the feet, is irritated or compressed. It originates in the lower back, radiates deep into the buttock and travels down the leg. The sciatica pain is like a constant burning sensation or a shooting pain starting in the lower back, or buttock and goes down the front or back of the thigh, leg or feet. The pain can be accompanied by numbness in the back of the leg, accompanied by a tingling sensation; weakness may also be present.

Mike Tyson

It should be noted that sciatica is not any type of lower back pain or radiating leg pain. It is specific to pain that originates from the sciatica nerve. A herniated lumbar disc, lumbar spinal stenosis or muscle spasm may cause sciatica. Experts describe the sciatica nerve as the largest single nerve in the body. It is formed by the union of five nerve roots in the lumbar and sacral spine. Sciatica is caused by injury to, or pressure on the sciatica nerve.

The Causes

The pain can vary widely and may feel like a mild tingling, dull ache, or burning sensation. And in the most severe of cases, it may leave a person unable to move. Sciatica is common in occupations where physically strenuous positions are used, such as machine operators or truck drivers, and specially people who often bend their spine forward or sideways, or raise their arms frequently above the shoulder level.

Mike Tyson

It can also be triggered by back injury or spondylolisthesis – where one of the bones in the spine slips out of position.