Sciatica 一 the inflammation of your sciatic nerve 一 is often discussed as a medical condition, but the reality is that sciatica is often the symptom of a bigger issue. Sciatica is a common pregnancy complaint that happens when the growing uterus presses on the sciatic nerve. Sciatica can also develop from continually sitting on a thick wallet, but most instances of sciatica are related to an underlying medication condition 一 and identifying which condition you have is the key to finding sciatica relief.
Because untreated sciatica can lead to chronic pain, our team at Wynn Over Pain in National City, California, encourages you to visit us if you suspect you have it. As pain management specialists, we can help you find relief from the conditions that contribute to sciatic nerve impingement.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at five medical conditions that contribute to sciatica.
Herniated discs, sometimes called slipped discs or bulged discs, are a common source of back pain and sciatica. Herniated discs can form in any part of your spine, but when they form in your lower back, they are called herniated lumbar discs. It’s these herniated discs in your lumbar spine that can contribute to sciatica.
Here’s how slipped lumbar discs contribute to sciatica: Your spine contains intervertebral discs that serve as shock absorbers in your back. Each disc features a hard exterior (annulus fibrosus) and a soft inner gel core (nucleus pulposus).
If the soft gel leaks out of the center and through the outer ring, it can press on your sciatic nerve and irritate it.
Addressing the disc herniation alleviates both the pain of the disc herniation as well your sciatica pain.
Despite the name, degenerative disc disease isn’t a disease spread from person to person. Rather, it is a condition characterized by wear and tear on your spinal discs. This is a natural effect of aging in which your discs become stiff and dry. The more dry or stiff your disc is, the more likely the inner portion of the disc will leak out of the disc and press on your sciatic nerve.
Degenerative disc disease contributes to sciatica in another way. Degenerative disc disease increases the risk that you develop bone spurs. Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, can press on your sciatic nerve and contribute to sciatica pain.
Spinal stenosis is a condition in which your spinal canal becomes narrower 一 often the result of arthritis. When your spinal canal becomes narrower, there’s less room for your nerves to fit easily. In other words, your sciatic nerve can get squeezed (and therefore irritated) if your spinal canal becomes narrower.
Piriformis syndrome is one of the biggest culprits of sciatica among runners. Running can overwork your piriformis muscle, a small muscle lying deep within your glutes. If this muscle becomes fatigued, it can spasm and squeeze your sciatic nerve. Increasing your mileage too quickly is one of the contributing factors to piriformis syndrome, so if you’re a runner, be sure to increase your mileage by no more than 10% each week.
Your SI joint connects your spine with your pelvis. While most people don’t discuss this joint much, this joint plays a big role in helping you move. Your SI joint:
While this joint is constantly involved in helping you move, if your SI joint moves too much or too little, it can cause sciatica. Additionally, if your SI joint isn’t working correctly, you might experience muscle tension and lower back pain.
Sciatica is notorious for causing pain in your buttocks or lower back, tingling, burning sensations, numbness, and pain that worsens with movements. Left untreated, these symptoms can grow more intense.
Brenton Wynn, MD addresses your sciatica pain from multiple angles, including addressing the underlying condition that is causing it.
Your pain management plan for sciatica may include any of the following:
To learn more about your sciatica treatment options, call our office today or book an appointment online.