Sciatica can be a very uncomfortable experience for many individuals. Characterized as a series of symptoms rather than a single condition, sciatica is a common type of pain affecting the sciatic nerve, the largest single nerve in the human body extending from the lower back through deep in the buttock and down into the back of each leg. It’s been reported that the immense and debilitating pain in the back and legs from sciatica can make going through your regular day difficult.
Fortunately for many individuals experiencing sciatica symptoms, there are numerous remedies to treat it, however, in order to begin treatment, its essential to first diagnose the possible causes behind their sciatica. Properly identifying the source of your symptoms is the best way to manage this lower back complication and its symptoms.
One of the most common causes of sciatica is a herniated disc. Spinal discs are made of a soft, gel-like substance that forms the nucleus with a hard, tire-like outer wall surrounding the nucleus. A direct injury to the spine or wear and tear from repeated movement over time can often cause the spinal disc to rupture, protruding through the outer wall. This gel then exerts strain or may compress the sciatic nerve, leading to irritation and inflammation that eventually develops into sciatica.
Lumbar stenosis is also a known cause for sciatica. Most commonly caused by age-related changes in the body, lumbar stenosis is a condition where the spinal canal gradually degenerates over time, narrowing down where it eventually begins to compress the spinal nerves. These compressed nerves can be section of the sciatic nerve which can result in sciatica.
The piriformis muscle found on the buttocks region could also be another source for the development of sciatica symptoms. This important muscle is responsible for providing movement to the hip joints, but if the piriformis muscle becomes too tight, it can irritate the sciatic nerve, a condition known as piriformis syndrome. The piriformis can in turn apply unwanted pressure on the sciatic nerve, leading to sciatica.
Spondylolysthesis is also a frequent cause for sciatica. In this situation, a single vertebra slides above the other adjacent vertebra. The slipping of a vertebra above the other can compress the sciatic nerve, causing pain and discomfort that eventually creates sciatica symptoms. Its important to note that if for individuals experiencing sciatica, the source of their pain is due to spondylolisthesis, the legs may be the most affected. Individuals with this condition generally suffer from tremendous pain on their legs.
In some cases, people may experience sciatica as a result of physical trauma. Certain incidents can leave the body in a state of shock, creating an abrupt irritation on the sciatic nerve. Some individuals suffer from sciatica as a result of accidents or injuries caused due to specific sports, such as football and rugby.
In rare circumstances, spinal tumors may also develop sciatica symptoms. Malignant or not, the altered growth of these kinds of tumors, especially in the lumbar regions of the spine, result in the firmness of the sciatic nerve, most commonly causing pain and other symptoms associated with sciatica.
These are only several of the most common factors behind sciatica. Nevertheless, the presence of any of the above conditions or injuries do not necessarily suggest the development of sciatica symptoms. However, if you are experiencing any painful symptoms and suspect a possible underlying condition or injury may be causing your discomfort, its crucial for you to seek a proper diagnosis for sciatica and follow through with an appropriate treatment regimen.
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A number of individuals often seek medical attention to treat the symptoms of sciatica, commonly characterized as low back pain that radiates down into the legs. Fortunately, there are many different types of treatments for sciatica but, while being aware of your options, its also essential to know the cause of the symptoms. For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at (915) 850-0900.
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
The information herein on "Prevalent Causes Behind Sciatica Symptoms" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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