Wellness Articles

Common Causes of Sciatic Pain

Prevention and Treatment Options for Low Back Pain Provided by Vancouver Chiropractor

If you’re reading this article, it’s a good bet you have a radiating pain running down the back of your leg that just won’t go away. If what I’m about to tell you sounds familiar, don’t worry, help is on the way.  However, in order to get rid of your sciatic pain you must first know what is commonly causing your pain.

Sciatica refers to a collection of symptoms, but is not a diagnosis as it does not address the cause of the pain.  Sciatic nerve pain is caused by pressure being placed on the sciatic nerve and there are primarily four conditions creating this.  You may have one or more of the following:

Condition #1- Discopathy
Discopathy refers to pathology of the disc- this can be a result of a herniation, bulge, or swelling.  A dic herniation is when the disc wall fails and the contents spill out, very much like when you squish a jelly donut too hard.  This is often caused by a traumatic event such as a motor vehicle accident, or by months or years of uneven pressure due to joint misalignments and muscle imbalances. This can sometimes cause sciatic pain, but it is also important to note that many people with herniated discs don’t even experience pain or symptoms.  Many don’t even know they have the condition.

Condition #2 – Piriformis Syndrome
The most common cause of sciatic pain and is created when pressure is placed on the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle. Muscle imbalances pull the hip joints and pelvis out of place and this changes the positioning of the piriformis muscle, which then places pressure on the sciatic nerve.  The sciatic nerve runs under the piriformis muscle the majority of the time, however, it occasionally will run through or around the piriformis.  Whatever the case, muscle imbalances may cause significant problems and are often the underlying cause of piriformis syndrome.

pirifomris muscle tightness causing sciatic pain

Condition #3 – Spinal Stenosis
Pressure caused by spinal stenosis, which is a decrease in the space in the spinal canal.  This is primarily caused by uneven pressure and compression due to osteoarthritic changes and resultant muscle imbalances.

Condition #4 – Spondylolisthesis
Pressure caused by isthemic spondylolisthesis, which refers to when a vertebrae “slips” or is malpositioned.  This can sometimes pinch the sciatic nerve but often times people who have this condition don’t have any sciatic pain, symptoms, or even know they have it!

If you are not sure which one of the four is causing your sciatica, I recommend you book an appointment to allow a professional, like myself to diagnose the problem. As most cases of sciatic pain are caused by joint malpositions and muscle imbalances, we usually begin to work on correcting the joints and often the muscle imbalances decrease. You may start to see improvement right away…. and likely decrease your sciatic pain in a few weeks or less.

Have a great day,
Dr. Crysta Serné
Vancouver Chiropractor and owner of Vitality Clinic

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