The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body that extends from the lower back, through the buttocks and down to the back of each leg. The sharp, shooting pain that people report experiencing can be severe and take your breath away. Sciatica is not a condition, but is the actual term that describes the pain when low back nerve roots become compressed and irritated or inflamed. Pain including weakness, numbness or tingling will usually start in the lower back and travel through the buttocks, and down the leg, even into the toes, usually only on one side. It is rare that both legs are affected at the same time. It is important to retrieve an accurate diagnosis for sciatica as one can also experience sciatica like symptoms from joint or muscle issues. True sciatica is a pinching of the sciatic nerve and in most cases, a cause is not normally found. 10 to 40 percent of the population are affected by sciatica, typically beginning around age 40. The majority of people that experience sciatica will get better with nonsurgical treatment.

Symptoms Of

Sciatica

Causes Of

Sciatica

Sciatica is caused by an irritation of the roots in the lower and lumbosacral spine or a pinch in the sciatic nerve. There are a number of medical conditions that can cause sciatica including herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, lumbar spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis and muscle spasms. The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc, when the disc bulges and irritates the sciatic nerve. Lumbar spinal stenosis is narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back that the spinal cord and sciatic nerve roots travel through, which can cause compression. Many times, this is caused by arthritis or aging. Spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebrae slips forward over another, pressing down on the sciatic nerve. Other factors that can cause sciatica include being overweight, not exercising regularly or sleeping on a mattress that is either too hard or too soft.

back of man sitting on bed with spine graphic overlay indicating back pain
back view of man with colorful spine graphic on lower back indicating pain
Treatments For

Sciatica

Chiropractic is an ideal place to start when considering treatment for sciatic-like shooting pain or associated symptoms such as leg or foot weakness, numbness or tingling.  We at the Stuart Spine Center are able to do a comprehensive analysis on the condition to find the root cause of the issue.  Sciatica is a very troubling condition that can severely impact a person ability to function.   Chiropractic Adjustments help to re-align the spine which reduces the pressure on the sciatic nerve.   Additional treatments including massage to reduce trigger points and ultrasound to reduce inflammation may also be combined with the spinal adjustments.   Once the pain is eliminated, guided exercises and stretches are given in order to reestablish normal muscle tone

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