Recognizing and Mitigating Sciatica CausesPresentation Transcript
Recognizing and Mitigating Sciatica Causes
Sciatica causes can differ but they all lead to the same thing: thecompression of the sciatic nerve. The resulting group ofsymptoms – localized pain and radiating pain, weakness,numbness, and tingling in the lower back, hips, buttocks, andlegs – is typically referred to as sciatica. The sciatic nerve is thelongest and largest nerve in the body,and it is particularly susceptible toCompression in the presence of adegenerative spine condition within thelumbar (lower back) region.
What Causes Sciatica?Usually, sciatica causes involve spinal anatomical abnormalities, such as: • Spinal stenosis – the narrowing of the spinal canal or foramen (passageways in between vertebrae through which spinal nerve roots travel) • Spinal arthritis – the inflammation, pain, stiffness, and tenderness of the spine’s facet joints, which can lead to the growth of bone spurs that can press on the sciatic nerve • Spinal trauma – the forceful impact caused by car accidents, falls, or other blows may cause damage to the spine • Spondylolisthesis – the condition where one vertebra slips out of place and over the vertebra below • Vertebral fractures – the fracturing of vertebra caused by trauma or other health conditions, such as osteoporosis
Piriformis SyndromeSometimes, another health issue unrelated to the spine can cause sciatica.Piriformis syndrome is one of the non-spinal related sciatica causes. Thepiriformis muscle is a band of tissue that belongs to the group of hip rotatormuscles. It is located in the buttocks, reaching from the anterior (front) ofthe sacrum through the pelvic and hip-joint area. The muscle attaches tothe top of the femur bone. The sciatic nerve runs beneath the piriformisand if the muscle becomes inflamed or irritated, it may put pressure on thenerve. In a small percentage of the population, the sciatic nerve happens torun directly through the piriformis muscle, which frequently causes sciatica.
Conservative Treatment FirstSciatica can usually be treated with a variety of conservative (nonsurgical)methods. These methods might include non-steroidal anti-inflammatorydrugs (NSAIDs), cold and/or heat therapy, gentle stretching, andtranscutaneous electrical nervestimulation (TENS) therapy, amongothers. If after several weeks ormonths of treatment, sciaticasymptoms have not improved,surgery may become an option.
Research Your Surgical OptionsBefore consenting to any type of sciatica surgery, spend sometime researching the different types of surgical proceduresavailable to treat your particular underlying cause. The optionscan range from highly invasive spinal fusion surgery to minimallyinvasive procedures performed with endoscopic equipment byorthopedic spine specialists. Ask your doctor about your options,and be sure to ask about potential post-surgery side effects andlong-term health risks.