If you’re experiencing sharp pain in your lower back that travels through your buttocks, down one of your legs and occasionally into your foot, you could be suffering from sciatic pain. Pain levels can vary from case to case but the condition can also cause numbness or tingling that tends to get worse while sitting.
The sciatic nerve is located in the back of the legs. It is the largest single nerve in the body and includes nerve roots that branch out from the lower portion of the spine. The pain occurs when the nerve becomes irritated which is a result from an underlying medical condition. Sciatica, which is another term for sciatic nerve pain, rarely occurs before adulthood.
Most common causes
- Lumbar Herniated Disc
Typically affecting those between the ages of 35-50, this herniated spinal disc occurs when the soft inner material of the disc leaks out through the fibrous outer core and pinches the nerve root.
- Piriformis syndrome
The piriformis muscle is located in the buttocks and can sometimes irritate or pinch a nerve root that is attached to the sciatic nerve.
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
A result of natural changes to the spine that comes with age. It’s when the spinal nerve roots in the lower back become compressed. Commonly occurring in adults over the age of 60
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis
This condition occurs when a small stress fracture causes one vertebral body to slip forward on another.
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
Irritation caused by dysfunction of the sacroiliac joint, which is located at the bottom of the spine. This condition is more commonly found in young to middle aged women.
- Degenerative disc disease
Changes in the discs of your spine that typically occur with age. This natural process typically occurs in the lower spine and can irritate a nerve root, which can cause sciatica.
Diagnosing the root cause
Before we treat your sciatic pain, we first undertake a thorough diagnosis to understand the root cause. Only then can we decide on what treatment will not only relieve the symptoms, but also help them from recurring again.
Most of the time, sciatica can be treated with chiropractic care such as ultrasound and manipulation. If we feel that the cause of your pain is a disorder beyond the scope of what we can treat we will then refer you to a doctor. In cases like this it is still common for us to co-treat you in order to manage the pain.