Sciatica is a common condition, and it can have a deep effect on your life.
Where you once had no problem sitting for car rides, airplane flights, or important presentations, your body won’t let you relax. You may experience tingling, pins and needles, or shooting pain in your lower back, buttocks, and leg. If you suffer from sciatica, we imagine you already understand what it is: pressing or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which is a major sensation highway running from your spine to each leg. As with many nerve issues, it manifests itself at the spine as well as far away from the spine, which can be confusing.
For being such a widespread issue, sciatica sure has a lot of myths around it! In our last blog, we discussed three major ones, including the myth that is is a disease and it can’t be cured. Today, we have a few more sciatica myths to dispel.
MYTH: Slipped discs are the only cause of sciatica
This is a common myth. Why? Because slipped discs are the most common cause of sciatica. When a disc moves out of its natural position between two vertebrae, it presses on the root of the nerve, creating sciatica. Anything that presses on the nerve root can cause sciatica, which means it isn’t limited to slipped discs. Sciatica can also be caused by these spinal issues:
- Spondylolisthesis – A vertebra moves forward over a vertebra next to it. This compresses the nerves and creates pain.
- Lumbar degenerative disc disease – As we get older, the padding discs between the vertebrae in our lower back get weaker. The result is irritated nerve roots and pain.
- Spinal tumors – As you would imagine, a bulk that doesn’t belong inevitably presses on nerves, causing irritation and pain. This is one of the least common causes of sciatica.
- Trauma – It may be a car accident or a fall, but external force hitting your spine can easily trigger the symptoms of sciatica.
- Lumbar spinal stenosis – Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal, which compresses the nerves. The pain that results can usually be solved by lying down.
- Piriformis syndrome – The piriformis muscle is in your buttock. Usually, the sciatic nerve travels beneath it. However, in 15 percent of the population, the nerve goes through the muscle rather than underneath it. As a result, the muscle has a huge impact on the wellbeing of the nerve. For instance, if the muscle shortens, it can compress the nerve. Both overuse and trauma can be responsible for the shortening of that muscle.
When it comes to treating sciatica, there is no better team than the experts at the Spine Institute of North America. We understand the impact that sciatica has on everyday life, and that is why we work so hard to stay on the cutting edge of spinal treatment. Not only do we offer injections and pain management, we also provide minimally invasive spine surgery. Relief is possible when you get us in your corner. Learn more today!