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  • Writer's pictureDr. David satterfield

Sciatica: 3 Most Common Causes

Updated: Oct 17, 2019

Sciatica, while commonly thought of as a diagnosis, is a actually a symptom or description of the pain a person is experiencing. According to the Mayo Clinic, Sciatica is defined as:

"...pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body."

Identifying the true cause of your pain is important in determining the treatment that is most appropriate for you. Below are the 3 most common causes of sciatica:

1. A Herniated Disc

Herniated discs are a common cause of sciatica. The discs in our spine act as shock absorbers to help distribute forces throughout the body. In the case of a herniated disc, a piece of the gel-disc will ballon out and put pressure on the nerves exiting the spine supplying the low back and legs.

2. Piriformis Syndrome

Pirifomis syndrome occurs when the pirfomis muscle, located at the back of our hip, becomes tight. The sciatic nerve runs under and sometimes through the piriformis muscle. As this muscle becomes tight, it squeezes on the sciatic nerve generating the common sciatic pain pattern.

3. Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is often cause by degeneration in the spine called degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis. Nerves exit the spine through spaces called Intervertebral Foramen(IVF). These IVF's often become narrowed due to degenerative processes and decrease the space of the exiting nerve. This process leads to the irritation of the nerves that supply the low back and legs.

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