Leading Causes of Sciatica

Do you have a shooting pain that runs from your buttocks to your foot? It might be sciatica, an inflammation of the sciatic nerve. If this describes you, you’re not alone. About 4 out of 10 people experience sciatica, according to the experts at Harvard Health.

At Premier Chiropractic, we know that sciatica can quickly dampen your quality of life. As chiropractic and rehabilitation specialists, we make it our goal to determine the cause of your pain and help you feel better.

Is sciatica causing your pain?

Typically, individuals with sciatica experience shooting pains that extend from the buttocks down to the foot. You might even feel tingling or numbness. Sciatica isn’t usually a standalone issue. It’s often caused by one of the following conditions:

1. Herniated disc

A herniated disc is one of the most well-known causes of sciatica. Inside each vertebrae disc is a gel-like substance. If a disc is damaged, the gel-like substance can protrude and press on the sciatic nerve. 

You can herniate a disc by lifting improperly, twisting while lifting, or through an accident such as a fall. Herniated discs are also called bulging discs, ruptured discs, or slipped discs. 

2. Piriformis syndrome

Piriformis syndrome occurs if the piriformis muscle (one of the muscles in the buttocks) is tight or strained and compresses the sciatic nerve. Repetitive motions and strenuous activity (like long-distance running) can cause muscle spasms that contribute to piriformis syndrome. 

3. Trauma

Trauma can be a cause of sciatica, particularly if the trauma leads to a herniated disc. Examples of trauma that causes herniated discs can include slip and falls, a blow to the back, an injury sustained during a car accident, or trauma to the back while lifting something heavy.

4. Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is characterized by a narrowing spinal canal. As the canal narrows, it can compress nerves. Spinal stenosis can be caused by osteoarthritis, bone overgrowth, or underlying health conditions such as Paget's disease.

5. Lifestyle factors 

In addition to underlying conditions and injuries, lifestyle factors can also impact your sciatic nerve. Anything that puts too much pressure on the sciatic nerve can contribute to sciatica. The following are all risk factors for developing sciatica: 

You can reduce your risk by standing and walking around the room (or block) after sitting for a while, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, and performing gentle prenatal stretches if you’re expecting.

6. Pinched nerve

Lumbar radiculopathy — more commonly known as a pinched nerve — is another leading cause of sciatica. According to the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine, there are many causes of a pinched nerve. Although this is a very common condition, the AANEM also highlights this piece of good news: 90% of those with a pinched nerve recover without the need for surgery.

You have sciatica, now what?

It might feel overwhelming to read that there are so many causes of sciatica, but remember that the first step to feeling better is identifying the cause of sciatica pain. That’s why your first step at Premier Chiropractic is a comprehensive exam so we can pinpoint what’s causing your sciatica. Once that’s done, we can get you on the path to recovery by creating a treatment plan based on the root problem.

At Premier Chiropractic, we’ll help you get rid of that pain in the buttocks. To learn more about your sciatica treatment options, schedule an appointment at our Pearland, Texas clinic. You can also give us a call at 281-223-1172.  

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