Sciatic nerve pain is a common condition affecting many people. In fact, one study shows that for many patients who have lower back pain, about 5-10 percent suffer from sciatica. In our recent blog posts, we have spent some time exploring sciatica and how patients can find sciatica relief at home with self-care techniques in conjunction with the gentle (no twist) chiropractic care they receive at Adjust Your Health Chiropractic and Massage. Today, your chiropractor in Overland Park will explore some of the common causes of sciatic pain, which may help you prevent this type of pain from developing. If you would like to find sciatica relief, give us a call to arrange an appointment for gentle chiropractic and massage. In the meantime, let’s explore the common causes of this painful condition.
Five Common Causes of Sciatica Pain
Disc herniations are a common condition which typically affects the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) spine. When an intervertebral disc (the shock-absorbing cushions between the spinal vertebrae) slips out of place or ruptures, this causes a disc herniation. Herniated discs can irritate nearby nerves in the spine — including the sciatic nerve — resulting in pain, numbness and tingling, decreased function, limited mobility. Herniated discs can be caused by trauma, such as an injury sustained in an auto accident, overuse, aging, or improperly lifting heavy objects. When a disc herniation occurs in the lower lumbar spine, it can pinch the sciatic nerve, causing severe, radiating pain and limiting mobility.
Spinal Bone Spurs
Bone spurs are projecting growths that form along the edges of different bones in the body, including the vertebrae in the spine. Typically, bone spurs develop as a result of joint damage from an injury or are caused by arthritis. When bone spurs form on the vertebrae in the lumbar spine, it causes a narrowing in the spinal cord, which can compress the nerve root connected to the sciatic nerve. As a result, a person may experience moderate to severe throbbing pain which radiates down through the hips and glutes into the leg. Along with pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness are common.
As an expecting mother’s body changes to make room for the growing baby in her uterus, this new pressure can aggravate the sciatic nerve. This is because the sciatic nerve is located under the uterus, so as the baby develops, the uterus and other nearby organs create additional pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is part of the aging process, affecting the discs in the spine. The Arthritis Foundation notes that MRI studies show that just about everyone over the age of 60 has disc degeneration. Disc degeneration is incredibly common and occurs when the discs in the spine weaken and wear away, thereby causing the joint facets in the vertebrae to rub against one another. Disc degeneration may often be an indicator of a herniated disc and/or lumbar spinal stenosis. This condition causes pain, limits movement, and can contribute to sciatica pain.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
This common spinal condition is the narrowing of the spinal canal, which compresses nerves traveling from the lumbar spine to the legs. Because the sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the lower back (and the entire body), lumbar spinal stenosis irritates the sciatic nerve, causing pain, numbness and tingling, and weakness in the lower back, hips, and one or both legs. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) suggests that while younger individuals may experience lumbar stenosis, it is more common among people aged 60 and older. This is because lumbar spinal stenosis is considered a degenerative condition that develops slowly over time with aging. This study also notes that over time, the spinal discs become “less spongy” with age, causing the loss in the disc’s height, therefore contributing to bulging discs, the development of spinal bone spurs, and a thickening of spinal ligaments, all of which can irritate the sciatic nerve.
Reach Out To Your Local Chiropractor
If you or someone you love suffers from sciatic nerve pain, give your Overland Park chiropractor a call to arrange an appointment for sciatica relief. Sciatica is a common condition, yet it can be treated with gentle chiropractic care, massage, acupuncture, and other alternative therapies. Give Adjust Your Health Chiropractic and Massage a call at (913) 681-7757 and start relieving your sciatic pain with an effective, natural approach to healing.
Thank you for reading and tune in next time to learn more about sciatica.
Dr. Christina 🙂