We’ve talked about all the things you do about the condition of sciatica, whose symptoms include weakness, numbness and often excruciating pain in the buttocks and down through the leg, typically on one side of the body. It follows the path of the sciatic nerve which originates in the lower back and then branches out through your buttocks and hips and then down each leg, although it tends to be on one leg or the other.
It will just get worse if unattended and if you suspect your life is becoming increasingly miserable because of this condition, the next step will be an examination and diagnosis and we can proceed with the physical therapy and other minimally invasive approaches that will get your life back on track. Taking that last painful step for help, and therapeutic treatment opens the door to the process of healing in a matter of weeks after months, possibly years, of torment.
How did you become a victim of sciatica? Because we believe in educating patient or those who may be considering treatment, we present the following causes.
The pain can become severe if unattended, weakening the involved leg until it can’t support your body weight. It may also interfere with bladder and bowel functions to the extent of incontinence.
The good news is that, in most cases, it is less invasive than the previously stated advanced conditions and can be healed in a matter of weeks with physical therapy and other non-operative approaches.
What Caused Your Sciatica?
If you are suffering from sciatica, it is most probable that its origin can be traced to a lumbar herniated disc. We say most probable because this condition is the cause an estimated 90 percent of sciatica. Lumbar herniated discs located in the lower section of the spine are usually a product of aging, with most victims between the ages of 35 and 50. Often this herniation cannot be traced to a single event, but there are cases where an incident of heavy lifting or twisting the lower back is where it all starts. Whatever the cause, whether via wear or tear, the disc or discs lose fluid, becoming softer, even spongy, which results in flattening and hardening of the disc.
This flattened, obtrusive disc will actually compress one or more spinal roots to the sciatica nerve. The direct pressing against the nerve due to the bulging or leaking disc is known as compression. A leaking disc releases an acidic chemical liquid which can also infiltrate the sciatic nerve resulting in irritation and inflammation. This is known as chemical inflammation.
When either of those two triggers occur, it is likely this will result in sciatica pain on one side of the body. This does not rule out the possibility of pain om both sides if the bulge or herniation is significant enough to intrude on the sciatica nerve on both sides and the symptoms will appear in both legs, which is called bilateral sciatica. The latter condition is, fortunately, rare.
As for degeneration, the more gradual process leading to sciatica, it can inflame and swell synovial tissue between adjacent vertebrae. This also gives rise to the possibility of bone spurs in the sensitive area, increasing the potential of spinal stenosis of narrowing of the spinal canal and raising the probability of the occurrence of sciatica in people 60 and older in age.
Sciatica is far from rare. In fact, as many as 40 percent of Americans will experience sciatica pain at some time in their lives, according to Harvard Medical School researchers.
—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy or more information about how we can help you deal with Sciatica.—