Sciatica, characterized by pain that radiates from the lower back down the back of the legs to the toes, is often caused by spinal conditions leading to irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body, runs from the lower back through the buttocks and down the back of the legs to the toes.
Compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve can result in low-back pain, accompanied by pain that extends down the back of the legs. In some cases, this condition may lead to neuropathy. Neuropathy refers to a condition involving damage or dysfunction of the nerves, and in the context of sciatica, it can occur due to the compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, causing further discomfort and potential complications.
There are basically two forms of Sciatica:
Sciatica frequently results from disc herniation, where spinal discs, soft cushions between vertebrae, are displaced beyond their normal boundaries due to injury or spinal degeneration. This bulging disc can pinch the sciatic nerve, leading to pain.
While disc herniation is a common cause of sciatic pain, a recent study utilized advanced imaging techniques to highlight alternative sources of sciatic pain. These findings suggest that, apart from disc herniation, there are other mechanisms that can trigger sciatic pain. The study aimed to broaden our understanding of the various factors contributing to sciatica beyond the traditional focus on disc-related issues.
Sciatica can have various causes, including:
As individuals age, disc degeneration becomes a common occurrence. This process involves a reduction in the height of spinal discs and a loss of their elasticity. The aging-related changes in discs can result in issues such as bulges, protrusions, extrusions, or herniations. These conditions may contribute to various types of spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal or nerve openings, which can lead to compression of the sciatic nerve.
The decreased disc height and changes in elasticity over time can contribute to the development of structural abnormalities that impact the surrounding structures, including the nerves. In the context of sciatica, these age-related changes in the spine can be significant factors in the compression of the sciatic nerve and the associated symptoms.
Treatment: A full examination and history. X-rays and or MRI of the Lumbar spine may be necessary. I recommend specific chiropractic treatments and also the use of Spinal Decompression to relieve the Sciatic nerve along with other forms of therapy in our office. Call us today at 508-481-1133!