Causes of Sciatic Nerve Pain – Ouch My Back Hurts!

Sciatica is not a disorder but a term used to describe radiating pain starting from the lumbar area down to the buttocks and over the posterior side of the lower limbs. Causes of sciatica have been directly associated to several spinal disorders. The disorders of the spine, especially those which occur in the lumbar area, result to the compression of the sciatic nerve which is pinpointed as the main cause of sciatica.

There are five sets of paired nerves which are present in the lumbar spine. These nerves combine to create the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body which runs from the back of the pelvis, under the buttocks and down to the hips into each of the legs. The nerve roots are generally present in the entire nervous system of the body. It functions to transmit nerve impulses to all the other parts of the body.

A herniated or bulging disk is the most common cause of sciatica. The bones in the spine are separated by pads of cartilages called the disks. It acts as cushion and shock absorber to the vertebrae, to protect it as you move. Aging is said to be the main cause of a herniated disk. As you grow older, the disks deteriorate and become more brittle. The gel like substance which is contained on the outer wall of the disk drips out as it develops tiny tears over the course of time. The herniated or bulging disk presses adjacent nerve roots and compresses delicate nerve tissue which is manifested through sciatica. Its danger doesn’t end in nerve compression since it can also cause nerve inflammation due to direct exposure to acidic chemical irritants which is contained within the disk. People who have damaged disks on the lower back often experience numbness of the extremity, pain, tingling sensation and weakness of the buttocks or legs.

Spinal Stenosis is another disorder which causes nerve compression. It occurs when certain areas in the spinal canal becomes narrowed. It then creates pressure on the spinal cord and its adjacent nerve roots. When the clogging of the nerve canal occurs at the lower back or lumbar spine it is termed as lumbar spinal stenosis.

The disorder that commonly affects the lumbar spine is called Spondylolisthesis. It is a degenerative disk disease characterized by slipping of one vertebra towards an adjacent vertebra. It often causes leg pain due to the displacement of the bone resulting to nerve root compression.

When the sciatic nerve is compressed by muscle spasm developed in the piriformis muscle it give rise to Piriformis Syndrome. The build up of muscle spasms on the piriformis muscle affects the sciatic nerve which passes through beneath it. A radiating pain felt at the back of the thigh is usually noted.

Spinal tumors, trauma and injury are other probable causes of sciatica. If you are experiencing any of these spinal conditions, immediately consult a spinal specialist for proper medical intervention. Early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment, so start getting treatment for sciatica nerve pain relief. Relieving the pain is the best cure for sciatica.

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