troubleshooting Question

MySQL query - dealing with parent- child relations in a table (multiple levels)

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meteorelecFlag for Ireland asked on
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I have table [categories] - this table contains all the categories in my product catalogue.

there table has a number of fields - the 2 of importance here are the categories id (Unique)
and the parent_id

The top level categories have a blank parent - this is because they are not contained inside another category , there is only 12 of these , the remaining 5,000 categories have a parent id,

The parent id on a record say "This category(category_id) is contained inside this category(parent_id) "

What i am looking for is a well optimised query that will return all the category_id's that are inside a given category id

i.e. child categories, child child categories , child child child categories - an so on.
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