Causes of Sciatica

 

The causes of Sciatica and how it can be helped.

Within the catchment of low back is a subgroup of Sciatica whose lifetime prevalence is 4 -5%.  Sciatica though   is a syndrome rather than a diagnosis, Very often caused by a disc compressing on a nerve in the lumbar spine which gives changes in motor or sensory feeling down the leg.

It is not always a disc that can cause this disturbance as it can also be caused by restrictions in movement particularly in the foraminal space (which is the space between the vertebrae through which the nerve travels) where the nerve exits the spine which can cause tethering or adhesions along the tract of the nerve which leads to  sciatica like symptoms. Compression from soft tissues which may be tight or sitting in an awkward position e.g on a wallet can compress on that nerve and cause sciatica like symptoms.

There can also be a double compression syndrome. Where two points along where the nerve runs become constricted which causes sciatica like symptoms.

The nerve itself can become inflamed causing a neuritis which again can cause symptoms of Sciatica going up and down the leg.

Sciatica like symptoms usually involve pain in the spine which refer pain down through the buttock and into a leg often going all the way down into the leg and foot. Typically, it is usually just one side that is affected. It

If Pain affects both sides or radiates down into both legs then this has to be looked at more carefully as more serious conditions may cause these problems.

Pain can be mild in character can be severe or sharp, burning, lancing or electric shock type symptoms.  Pins and needles can accompany this, burning sensations, weakness often e.g. limping can accompany this condition.

Sciatica can be short lived but, in many cases, can go on for months and sometimes years.

Sciatica can generally be helped with Osteopathy and Acupuncture is a very good adjunct to help in the painful and debilitating condition.  As nerve is affected these conditions can take longer than normal to help, and if cases don’t respond fairly quickly scans are needed to rule out other pathologies that can cause Sciatica.

If you have Sciatica do contact me and I will be pleased to advise if treatment may be of benefit.

 

References:

Sciatica causes: https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM198802043180506

Determinants of sciatica and low-back pain   https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/1830689

Diagnosis and treatment of sciatica:  https://www.bmj.com/content/334/7607/1313?flh=