The sciatic nerve, the largest single nerve in the body, runs from the lower back, down the back of each leg and is composed of individual nerve roots that start by branching out from the spine in the lower back and combine to form the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica is not a Disease:
Sciatica (sigh-at-ih-kah) in itself is not a disease but a symptom of an underlying medical condition and is referred as one or more of the following symptoms:
- Constant pain in the lower back….one side of the buttock or leg (rarely in both legs)
- Pain that is worse when sitting
- Burning or tingling down the leg
- Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
- Difficulty in standing up or walking.
Most Common Causes of Sciatica:
- Lumbar herniated disc: Sometimes referred to as a slipped disc, ruptured disc, bulging disc, protruding disc, or a pinched nerve.
- Degenerative disc disease: Diagnosed when a weakened disc results in excessive micro-motion at that spinal level, and inflammatory proteins from inside the disc become exposed and irritate the area.
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis: Small stress fracture results in a vertebral body to slip forward on another.
- Lumbar spinal stenosis: Characterized by narrowing of the spinal canal.
- Piriformis syndrome: Caused by the piriformis muscle pinches a nerve root of the sciatic nerve.
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction: Caused by irritation of the sacroiliac joint.
- Pregnancy: Weight gain, a shift on one’s center of gravity, and hormonal changes, can cause sciatica during pregnancy.
- Scar tissue: Occurs when a scar tissue compresses the nerve root.
- Muscle strain: Inflammation from a muscle strain can put pressure on a nerve root.
- Spinal tumor: Tumors in the lower back can pinch nerve root.
Possible Treatment Options:
Most doctors recommend bed rest. Other treatment options for sciatica include medications to relieve pain and inflammation (including oral and injectable cortisone) and relax muscles, massage and physical therapy. Lower back conditioning and stretching exercises help alleviate the symptoms of sciatica. Surgical procedures can sometimes be required for persisting sciatica that is caused by nerve compression at the lower spine.
This instructional video below provides simple Yoga stretches to get relief from Sciatica and lower back pain:
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If you would like to help with alleviating the pain of Sciatica, please call to schedule a consultation with a certified reflexologist. Most consultations are free. Call the HealingPlaceMed at 508 359-6463