Sciatica / Leg Pain
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. It originates from the nerves coming out of the low back and travels through the buttock, back of the thigh and leg to the foot. Sciatica is caused by compression of the nerve which can create pain, burning, muscle weakness, numbness and tingling. Some of the common causes include:
- Disc Herniations – The intervertebral disc is a doughnut shaped ligament that connects two vertebrae together. In the center of the “doughnut” is a gel-like nucleus, similar to the center of a jelly doughnut. Injuries to the lower back can cause tears to the outer surrounding of the disc, called annular fibers, which allows the nucleus to leak out and compress the nerves exiting the spine. This commonly affects the sciatic nerve causing sciatica.
- Severe Osteoarthritis – When the spine undergoes physical stress, it responds by laying down extra bone in attempt to stabilize the spinal joint. Overtime this can create bone spurs which can compress the sciatic nerve.
- Spinal Stenosis – Stenosis essentially means narrowing. Stenosis can be caused by anything that narrows the opening where the spinal nerves exit or the actual spinal canal which houses the spinal cord. This can be caused by severe osteoarthritis, disc herniations, or tumors.
- Piriformis Syndrome – The piriformis muscle attaches from the outside of the hip to the sacrum (tail bone). This muscle helps to externally rotate the hip, which means rotating your thigh and leg out away from the mid-line so your toe is pointing out. In some people, the sciatic nerve travels through this muscle on its descent down the leg. If this muscle becomes too tight from injury or chronic, repetitive stress, it can compress the sciatic nerve causing sciatica.
Each one of these conditions can require different types of treatment. At Advanced Healthcare, we use a multidisciplinary approach to determine the exact cause and the best treatment. Many times various treatments including physical therapy, chiropractic, massage, and medical interventions (such as injections) are required to fix the problem.
Call Advanced Healthcare of the Palm Beaches at 561-296-1715 to schedule a complimentary consultation!