The term Sciatic is thrown out there quite a bit but what is it and what does it mean?
The Sciatic nerve is a large nerve that starts in the lower back and goes down the back of the leg to the foot. There is one on each side of the body. When this nerve is affected in some way, there is a sensation of shooting pain that most commonly starts at the buttock and goes down the leg as short as to the knee or as far as to the foot. When this sensation happens it is termed as Sciatica.But what is really happening and why?
When the sciatic nerve is affected there are three common reasons.
- There is a tiny muscle deep into the buttock called the Piriformis muscle. When the this muscle becomes tightened from overuse or from an injury, it puts pressure right on the sciatic nerve causing that deep dull achey pain and then shoots down the leg.
- When there is a lack of mobility or a misalignment within the joints of the pelvis or the lower back, this too can compress on the sciatic nerve and cause more of a sharp shooting pain.
- When there is disc disease such as a degeneration, a bulge or herniation, or as some like to call it ‘a slipped disc’, the pressure from the disc can hit on a nerve and cause the sciatic sensation down the leg.
There are many other causes of this sciatic pain sensation as well but to properly diagnose and treat this problem, a thorough history and examination must be performed to determine what the actual cause is.
Suspect of sciatic pain? Schedule an appointment today and find out what the real cause of your pain is.
In good health,
Dr. Joanna Reaves