Sciatica! is defined as pain which runs down the back of your leg, right or left, along the sciatic nerve.

This pain would originate in the lower back or buttocks and could possibly extend down all the way to your toes. In addition to the pain you would most likely also be experiencing numbness, a pins and needles feeling in the leg, and in some cases muscle weakness in the ankle or toes. The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc in the back placing pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Main Causes of Sciatica

– Compression of the sciatic nerve is what causes sciatica so any direct, forceful, trauma could potentially cause damage to the nerve or bones in the area and place pressure on the nerve. This type of damage is commonly caused by car accidents, athletic injuries, and steep falls.

Bulging or herniated disc – In between each vertebrae in your back rest tiny circular discs that act as shock cushions. Each disc is made of a hard outer shell and a soft centre. A bulging/herniated disc occurs when the outer shell degrades enough to allow the soft centre to begin bulging outward and in some cases seep through. Our nerves along our spine are located extremely close to the vertebrae so when a disc bulges out of its normal position it will place pressure on the nerve root. In some cases this could be the sciatic nerve.

Spinal stenosis – This is a nerve compression disorder most commonly found in the elderly. Nerve roots in the spine move outward through passageways called neural foramina. When the passageways become narrow or clogged causing compression of the nerves, it’s called spinal stenosis.

Spinal tumors – A tumor is an unnatural growth that can be either benign(non harmful), or cancerous. If a tumor develops in the lumbar region of the back, there is a chance it could place pressure on the sciatic nerve causing sciatica.

Piriformis Syndrome – This syndrome is named after the piriformis muscle and the pain that is caused when it aggravates the sciatic nerve. This muscle is located in the lower part of the spine and connects to the thigh bone. The sciatic nerve runs beneath the muscle so if this muscle spasms it would place pressure on the sciatic nerve.

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Dr. Gowriharan “Ty” Thaiyananthan

is a highly regarded researcher and neurosurgeon in Orange County, California who specializes in complex and minimally-invasive spine surgery. He is at the forefront of pioneering new surgical techniques using stem cells and minimally invasive surgery to treat neck and back pain, degenerative disc disease and herniated disc disease, spinal stenosis, and scoliosis!

Sciatica Symptoms

  1. Pain in either leg that is usually worse when sitting down. The pain should only occur in one leg.
  2. A pins and needles feeling running down the leg
  3. Weakness in the leg that could extend to the toes.
  4. Consistent pain on one side of the buttocks
  5. Sharp shooting pains when standing up

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