What Causes Sciatica?

How Common Is Sciatica?

Sciatica is such a common problem that as many as 40% of the U.S. population will encounter it at some point in their lives. Although actual injury to the sciatic nerve is very rare, sciatica refers to symptoms regarding any pain that originates in the lower spine, runs down to the hip and buttock region, and radiates down each leg.

What Are Common Symptoms of Sciatica?

This set of symptoms is a result of irritation, inflammation, compression, or pinching of the sciatic nerve in the spinal cord. In addition to the typical symptoms of pain traveling down the nerve pathway, some other common signs of sciatica include:

  • Numbness or weakness in the lower spine, gluteal, or leg and feet area
  • Pain that gets worse with movement or loss of movement
  • Painful tingling or a sensation of pins and needles in your feet or toes
  • Incontinence, or the loss of bladder or bowel control

How Can It Be Caused?

Sciatica can be caused by a variety of medical conditions including:

  • Herniated or slipped disk – When the first layer of cartilage ruptures, it causes the bulging or extrusion of the disk’s inner core and places pressure on the sciatic nerve. This irritation results in direct compression by the disk or its inner material against the sciatic nerve.
  • Lumbar degenerative disk disease –  These degenerated disks can secrete inflammatory proteins and inflame the nerve root.
  • Spinal stenosis – This is the abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal that reduces the available space for the nerves and spinal cord. This decreased diameter increases irritability in the nerves and induces pain, weakness, and numbness in the lower back, hips, buttocks, groin, and legs.
  • Piriformis syndrome – This is a condition in which your piriformis muscle, the small muscle
    that connects the lower area of your spine to the thighbones and involuntarily spasms and tightens. When this muscle contracts, it can add pressure on your sciatic nerve and trigger sciatica. 

Other rare but possible causes of sciatica include tumors in the lumbar spinal canal, back injury during pregnancy, osteoarthritis, and cauda equina syndrome.

How ReGen Medical Can Help

There is a vast amount of risk factors for sciatica, and it doesn’t just include bad habits and heredity. With back pain being the third most common reason for a doctor’s visit, it is beneficial to try to prevent and reduce the risk of developing sciatica. We can work closely with you to develop a step-by-step treatment plan that will help you in maintaining good posture, practicing routine exercise, and using proper body mechanics to guard your back and spinal nerves.

To book an appointment with our helpful team, contact us today at (214) 855-7750 or contact us online!