Sciatica is a condition that refers to a tingling pain or numbness that’s caused by irritated nerve roots leading to an individual’s sciatic nerve. The nerve itself is formed by all the nerve roots that branch out of your spinal cord and down into your lower back. It travels down through the buttocks area and extends all the way down the back of your leg to your foot.
Sciatica is commonly caused by a ruptured or bulging disc within the spine that presses against a person’s nerve roots that lead to their sciatic nerve. However, sciatica can also be a symptom produced by another disorder that ultimately impacts the spine, including spinal canal bone spurs narrowing (small growths that develop along the joints) due to arthritis or sometimes from compressed nerve roots from a specific injury. Rarely, sciatica may possibly be caused by disorders that don’t relate to the spine at all, such as pregnancy or tumors.
Symptoms of Sciatica
Sciatica symptoms may include intense pain that starts in the buttocks or back and travels down the leg or into the foot. Numbness, tingling, and weakness can occur in the leg as well. Standing or sitting for long periods of time or performing certain movements can cause your spine to flex and therefore intensify the symptoms. Lying down, walking, and movements that help the spine extend can help alleviate the symptoms of sciatica.
What Causes a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve can result if there’s enough pressure (compression) on the nerve. The compression may be a direct result of performing repetitive motions or arise from keeping the body in the same position for too long, like keeping the elbows tightly bent while asleep.
In general, nerves are more vulnerable in key places throughout the body where they must travel through tight, narrow spaces with very little soft tissue for protection. Usually, nerve compression happens if a nerve is pinched between different tissues, some of which may include:
For instance, pressure or inflammation on a particular nerve root branching out from the spine can ultimately cause lower back or neck pain. It can also make intense pain radiate from a person’s neck and down into the shoulder and/or arm. Sometimes, the pain travels down into both the leg and foot area as well.
These unpleasant symptoms may be due to changes that form in the bones and discs of a person’s spine. For instance, if a person’s disc tears or weakens (herniated disc), undue pressure is put on their spinal nerve that can cause extreme discomfort or pain.
Compressed nerves in the neck or arm can also cause pain in other areas, including:
In time, the compression can result in other disorders, such as:
- Tennis elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Peripheral neuropathy
Effective treatment for sciatica primarily depends on determining what’s causing the irritated nerves. If the symptoms don’t improve or worsen, our team at Lakeside Sports Chiropractic can help. We offer chiropractic care as well as physical rehab, massage therapy and spinal decompression. We’ll work with you to treat both the root cause and symptoms of your pain. Contact Lakeside Sports Chiropractic today to schedule your consultation.