Monday, June 27, 2011

What Causes Sciatica?

In the world of back and neck pain, sciatica is perhaps one of the best known names. It’s like the superstar of back pain and neck pain. Well, more like the super villain. The point is, sciatica gets a lot of attention for good reason - it hurts like crazy and it’s unfortunately common. Back pain that leads to downtime may be experienced by as high an estimate as 80% of the population in America. Sciatica is involved in a rather high number of those cases.

So what the heck causes sciatica? What are the reasons we get it? It sounds like the same question but not quite. One is an anatomical explanation and the other leads us into specific conditions. That’s because sciatica isn’t really a disease or condition; sciatica is just a group of symptoms related to nerve impingement. And it’s in the nerves where we begin to find our explanation.

As you know, the spine is a huge conduit running the “wires” of our nervous system. It’s a delicate structure that the entire body depends on to function properly with tasks like collecting data, relaying signals and providing motion and function to our bodies. Sometimes, due to age, accident or some combination thereof, the nerves become squished as they exit the spine causing irritation, inflammation and ultimately, pain. Pain varies from person to person and based on severity of the nerve compression, but it’s pretty much part of the deal. Sciatica specifically indicates that the sciatic nerves in the spine (they exit the spinal canal in the lower back) are affected. The lower back and neck are generally more susceptible to injury of this kind because there is a much greater range of motion.

So what about conditions? Why do I get sciatica? There are, sadly, many reasons people feel the stinging, burning pains of sciatica. In addition, they can only be confirmed with MRI findings. Problems like herniated or bulging discs, spinal stenosis and piriformis syndrome are some of the more well known culprits. Spondylolisthesis or spinal tumors are less likely but also real contributors to lumbar pain.

The main thing I hope you take away from this is that if you have back pain, see a doctor right away. At Living Well Medical in NYC we specialize in treating pain without surgical intervention. Give us a call today if you need help at 212-645-8151.

- Dr. Shoshany, NYC Chiropractor

1 comment:

Foothills said...

is acupuncture effective treatment for neck and back pain ? very nice blog keep on posting dear.i come across while searching blogs