Here's something that might surprise you as you dive into the top causes of sciatica. Sciatica is not a condition, disorder, or diagnosis in and of itself. Sciatica pain can be described as dull, achy, sharp, or shooting pain in the lower back and hip, buttock, and leg on one side of the body. Some may also experience burning, numbness, or tingling sensations. When someone says they "have sciatica," what they really have is a very specific set of symptoms hinting at an underlying condition. Many of our sciatica patients often comment that they don't know how they hurt their back. Well, that actually makes sense. What is that underlying condition 99.9% of the time? Most all the top causes of sciatica are linked to the irritation, compression, or impingement of a sciatic nerve. How do we know this? When a nerve is compressed or irritated — be it from a herniated spinal disc, bone spur, or ligament overgrowth — it can become inflamed and painful. And, as you may have noticed, the causes we just listed aren't isolated to injuries.
Why it Matters:
Not all of the top causes of sciatica are injury driven in the traditional sense. Natural changes that occur as we age, the pressure of gravity, and even stenosis (narrowing of the spinal column) can also contribute to the development of compressed or "pinched" nerves and sciatica pain. The two sciatic nerves (or, more specifically, nerve bundles) are the longest nerves in the body and for that reason, there are lots of opportunities for either one to become irritated. These are the major nerves to your legs, and they provide the sensation and motor fibers that allow you to stand up, walk, and run. That should give you a better idea of how any irritation to either sciatic nerve related to the top causes of sciatica can result in those very noticeable and often disruptive symptoms. Think of your nerves like small, high-powered electrical lines. They transmit signals from the power station — your central nervous system — out to all of the muscles, organs, and cells in your body. The electrical lines or nerves in your low back travel down your hips, buttocks, and legs to your feet to your toes. If the nerve is irritated at the power station, it will affect everything along the path of that line. That is why a spinal disc irritating a nerve in your low back can result in pain down into your leg! Sciatica pain can occur at any point along the course of either sciatic nerve depending on where the irritation exists, and it can then radiate from there. It’s possible to experience sciatica symptoms without low back pain. It’s possible the pain in your leg isn’t related to an impingement of its sciatic nerve. That’s why it’s so important to seek sciatica treatment in Clear Lake from a healthcare professional who not only has an in-depth understanding of the top causes of sciatica pain, but of pain in the lower extremities as well. Back to our analogy. Just like your local power company needs to perform maintenance on their equipment, you should also perform periodic maintenance on your body. Many people just don't know that many of the top causes of sciatica pain can often be resolved without the need for surgery, spinal injections, or pain medications prescribed by an MD. Staying active with daily exercise, stretching, and periodic chiropractic care can help prevent issues in your low back. Chiropractic care is an ideal treatment for sciatica pain because it can directly address the root cause of that pain. In fact, in one recent study researchers observed that over 90% of patients with symptomatic sciatica reported being "much better" or "better" after receiving chiropractic care.
Periodic chiropractic care has the potential to increase your flexibility and range of motion, help keep your spinal discs healthy, and it could even prevent future episodes of back pain and the development of the top causes of sciatica. In our practice, we utilize various treatments, including adjustments, to correct spinal conditions such as herniated discs and minor vertebral displacements (subluxations) as well as joint restrictions related to scar tissue and muscle spasms to both help relieve your sciatica pain and prevent it from recurring. So, if you don't have your next visit on the books, be sure to reserve your appointment today! And if you're considering booking your first appointment, know that you don't need a referral to see a chiropractor like us specializing in sciatica treatment in Clear Lake. Simply pick up the phone, book online, or send us a message to get started. A little maintenance today can go a long way towards a healthier tomorrow, and we’re here to help.
Outcomes of Patients with Symptomatic Herniations Receiving Spinal Therapy. JMPT. 2014. Maintained Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Low Back Pain. SPINE. 2011.