Get to the Root of Your Sciatic Pain—Top 5 Conditions Revealed!
Back and nerve pain affects millions of people each year, which is why you may be familiar with the term ‘sciatica’. Despite its widespread use in our vernacular, though, most patients don’t know exactly what it means.
WHAT IS SCIATICA?
Sciatica is not actually a diagnosis, but is instead used to describe a group of symptoms. The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the body that spans the lower back and travels through the back of the thigh down to the foot. Sciatica simply means compression or inflammation of the sciatic nerve which can result in symptoms including radiating pain, numbness/tingling, or a burning/prickling sensation.
Are you experiencing sciatic symptoms?
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GET TO THE ROOT OF YOUR REAL DIAGNOSIS:
5 COMMON REASONS FOR SCIATICA
Sciatica symptoms can occur whenever there is compression or inflammation on the sciatic nerve. There are many possible causes, but the following conditions are the most common:
1. Lumbar Disc Herniation
Spinal discs act as shock absorbers in our body, and therefore are appropriately filled with a ‘jelly’ like substance known as the nucleus pulposus. When this jelly substance squirts through the disc, otherwise known as a disc herniation, it can pinch the nerve resulting in sciatic symptoms.
2. Lumbar Disc Degeneration
Unfortunately the spine doesn’t need a herniation to pinch the sciatic nerve – you just need to age. Due to the normal wear and tear we place on our bodies over time, our discs degenerate and we lose the cushion between our spinal bones. Eventually the space needed to allow the sciatic nerve to ‘breathe’ becomes too small and the nerve can become compressed and inflamed.
3. Lumbar Spondylolisthesis
Spondylolisthesis is just a fancy word for instability in the back when one bone slips forward or backward onto another bone. All of this bone mobility can compress the sciatic nerve.
Scoliosis is an abnormal curving of the spine that can pull the sciatic nerve to one side, while crushing it on the other. Depending on the degree of the curve, sciatica may occur due to nerve compression.
5. Piriformis Syndrome
The piriformis muscle is located deep within the buttock and is settled closely to the sciatic nerve. In fact, the sciatic nerve can sometimes event run through the piriformis muscle. Because of its close location, piriformis syndrome may occur if the piriformis muscle spasms - irritating the sciatic nerve and producing sciatica.
DON'T LIVE ANOTHER DAY IN PAIN!
Regardless of the diagnosis, sciatic symptoms can cause serious pain and may even lead to permanent nerve damage if left untreated. Don't manage the symptoms yourself! If you are experiencing pain in the lower back, or any form of numbness, tingling, weakness, or burning you should be seen by a spinal specialist as soon as possible to relieve those symptoms and ensure there is no permanent damage.
Get to the root of your sciatic pain. Schedule your initial consultation with a spine specialist today!