Understanding what sciatica is and what can cause sciatica, can help tremendously on what would be the most effective way to treat and address the root cause of the underlying problem.
First lets understand what sciatica is. Sciatica is a term used to describe symptoms of leg pain. These symptoms includes, tingling, numbness and/or weakness-that originates from the lower back and travels down the buttocks, down to the sciatic nerve, which is located in the back of the leg.
Sciatica can have one or more of these following symptoms together:
* pain shooting down one or both legs, starting from the buttocks
* pain that occurs when sitting
* pain in the leg that is describe as burning, tingling
* weakness and/or numbness in the leg and/or foot
* sharp shooting pain down the leg that can cause difficulty in standing and walking
Four causes of sciatica are the following:
* Degenerative Disc Disease-disc degeneration is a natural age process, but can also cause nerve root irritation (for example in the low back) which can cause sciatic pain. Degenerative Disc Disease is diagnosed when a weakened disc causes inflammation to the exposed nerve roots, that causes symptoms such as sciatica.
* Piriformis Syndrome- this is where the sciatic nerve becomes irritated as it runs through a tiny muscle located on the buttocks (call the Piriformis). If this muscle is tight or irritated, it can pinch on the nerve root that comprises the sciatic nerve, resulting in sciatic pain.
* Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction- when sacroiliac joint is irritated, it can also irritate the L5 vertebra and this in turn can cause sciatic pain
* Lumbar Bulging Disc/Herniated Disc-A bulging disc or herniated disc is one of the most common causes of sciatic pain. Both are considerate disc disorders.
A bulging disc, is when the gel-like center (nucleus pulposus) remains contain within the anulus fibers of the disc. But, the disc bulges out like a balloon, and can irritate the nerve.
A herniated disc, is when the nucleus pulposus breaks through the anulus fibers, and the gel-like center presses against the nerve, which can also irritate the nerve. Out of the two, the herniated disc is the worst.
Both can cause sciatic pain disorder.
As chiropractors, we diagnose and treat the problem, and find the root cause of the symptoms. We use several different therapies to help treat sciatic pain, such as ice/heat therapies, ultrasound, TENS units, and most importantly spinal adjustments.
Proper diagnosing is essential to get the corrective care that is needed.
If you're in the Charlotte NC area you can get a sciatica screening now!