What Is Sciatica?
The sciatic nerve is the body’s longest nerve. It runs from the lumbar spine all the way down the back of the legs, passing through the buttocks, thighs, knees, and continuing down into the feet. The sciatic nerve is interesting because it is really several nerves bundled into one casing.
A sciatic nerve that becomes irritated can lead to intense lower back pain as well as stinging, numbness, weakness, and other discomforts in the buttocks and thighs. This pain and discomfort is known as sciatica.
How Do I Get Sciatica?
Sciatica can often be attributed to herniated discs. Discs are the cushions between vertebrae in your spine. When a disc becomes inflamed, it will place pressure on the sciatic nerve. Another cause of sciatic pain is inflammation of the piriformis muscle, or the muscle that permits a sideways leg lift.
If inflamed, it can also place pressure on the sciatic nerve. However, the cause of sciatica is sometimes seen as of secondary importance because the pain can generally be easily treated.
What Causes Sciatic Pain?
A bulging or herniated disc in the spine often causes sciatica. Therefore activities that cause bulging discs can also cause sciatica. An auto accident can cause sciatica, but so can vibrations from mechanical devices or heavy lifting.
There is often a correlation between immobility or bad posture and sciatica. If you experience either of these in your daily life, then you may be at risk for sciatic pain. Adopting such activities as regular exercise and quitting such pastimes as smoking will help your sciatic nerve. Exercise builds abdominal muscles so that weak muscles do not lie on the sciatic nerve, and not smoking will help keep your whole body healthier.
The drawback to being aware of sciatica and doing all you can to prevent it is that sciatica is hard to predict. It can often appear without a clear cause.
How Does Sciatica Go Away?
Most sciatica cases are quickly resolved through chiropractic treatment. Once you have a chiropractic consultation, your chiropractor can prescribe specific core muscle strengthening exercises and advice on how to limit movements that cause pain. He can also give a series of chiropractic adjustments that will move vertebrae back in place, releasing pressure off the sciatic nerve.
If you have the symptoms of sciatica—shooting pain down the back of the legs, numbness and tingling in the buttocks, and so on then you should make an appointment at our office.