Common Causes of Sciatica


Sciatica refers to nerve pain from an injury or irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in our bodies, running from the lumbar spine down through the glutes (buttocks), back of the thighs, and into the lower leg. Sciatica is a fairly common condition, usually affecting only one side of your lower body at a time, however it’s possible it can affect both sides at once. Sciatica is considered a lumbar radiculopathy, meaning the pain originates in the lumbar nerve roots, but symptoms can be felt all down through the lower half of your body. The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated, or bulging, lumbar disc, which causes compression of the sciatic nerve. Other potential causes of sciatica include:

      • Stenosis – a narrowing of the spinal canal
      • Spondylolisthesis – a condition in which a vertebrae slips forward and is out of alignment with the vertebrae above and below
      • Degenerative Disk Disease (DDD) – a wearing down of the vertebral disc over time
      • Piriformis syndrome – tightness of the piriformis muscle causing compression of the sciatic nerve
      • Osteoarthritis – bone spurs of the vertebrae causing irritation against the sciatic nerve

The most common symptom of sciatica is pain in the low back/gluteal area that radiates down the path of the nerve into the back of the thigh. Pain can vary from a dull ache to a sharp or shooting pain. Other symptoms include:

      • Weakness of affected leg
      • Numbness or tingling sensation in the glute, leg, and/or foot.
      • Decreased joint motion due to pain
      • Pain that increases with activity or movement
      • Burning or stabbing type of pain

Depending on the severity of your sciatica, it can usually be treated and managed with:

      • OTC or prescription medicines to reduce pain and inflammation
      • Heat or ice – ice to initially reduce inflammation and pain; heating pad to increase circulation and relax the surrounding muscles.
      • Physical therapy – PT will teach various exercises to increase flexibility and improve lumbar stabilization to reduce pain and prevent further symptoms

If you are experiencing any kind of back pain or have been diagnosed with Sciatica, contact us for a free consultation.  To request an appointment, click here, or call directly to one of our three locations during regular business hours:

Cool Springs: 615-224-9810
Shelbyville: 931-684-0027
Spring Hill: 931-489-2022

Disclaimer:  The information in this blog is intended to be informational only, and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical care.  Consult a doctor or a physical therapist before attempting treatment on your own.

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