5 Possible Causes of Your Sciatica
Sciatica—that feeling of pain, numbness or tingling you may be experiencing in your buttocks and down one or both legs—is often due to the sciatic nerve being irritated. What we refer to as the sciatic nerve is actually several nerve roots from the lower spine that have joined together. It then connects to many other nerves that branch out throughout the lower extremities and into the ankle and foot.
Several issues could be causing this irritation of the sciatic nerve. There are five common causes. The first one is a bulging or herniated disc. When a disc has bulged, its jelly-like center is pushed out toward the wall of the disc and may be pressing on a nerve, causing pain. A herniated disc is one where the jelly-like substance has actually penetrated through the disc wall. When this happens, the gel will still push against the nerve, and it also has an acid in it that causes inflammation in the nerve. People who have a herniated disc often experience numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness.
The second reason for sciatic pain is due to spinal stenosis. Stenosis is a narrowing of the openings for the nerve roots in the lower back. The nerves from the spinal column branch out between the vertebrae through openings called foramen. When one of these openings narrows, the nerves do not have enough space to pass through without being pinched.
The next possible cause is spondylolisthesis. This is a condition where one vertebra slips forward in relation to an adjacent vertebra. When this happens, a nerve root can become compressed, causing radiating pain into the extremities.
Another cause of sciatica is trauma. Automobile accidents, falls, sports injuries, etc. can injure the nerves. Sometimes the nerve pain comes from a piece of bone that has splintered off and is puting pressure on a nearby nerve.
The piriformis muscle can be the cause of sciatica. It is a muscle that begins in the lower back and connects to the thigh bone. The sciatic nerve runs just beneath that muscle. If the piriformis spasms due to injury or overuse, it will compress that sciatic nerve and cause pain.
We have seen good results with sciatica through the use of Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression. Many people are able to avoid surgery and see their pain greatly reduced or eliminated with this technique. If you are suffering from sciatica, give our office a call to see if this would be appropriate for you.