With thousands of people being diagnosed with sciatica every year, the condition is among the most common around the world. It is characterized by pain radiating from the lower back and buttocks to the leg. The pain is the result of compression of the sciatic nerve, the largest in the human body. There are several possible causes of this condition. They are more serious diseases affecting the spine. Learn more about them now.
This is perhaps the most common cause of sciatica. Herniation is the leak of the softer inner material out of the porous outer structure of the spinal disc. When this condition affects a disc in the lumbar area, the result can be compression of the sciatic nerve. The compression leads to inflammation and pain, which is the major symptom of the condition.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
This condition of the musculoskeletal system is characterized by narrowing of the spinal canal. This could, in turn, cause sciatica. Lumbar spinal stenosis is associated with aging and typically occurs in people over 60 years of age. It may be accompanied by lumbar arthritis, which can make sciatica worse.
Degenerative Disc Disease
In general, spinal discs are subject to natural degeneration which occurs with age. However, in some cases, the weakening of a disc can be too great and result in irritation and inflammation. If bone spurs have formed, they may pinch the sciatic nerve and cause sciatica in turn.
This condition occurs when a small stress fracture is present. It causes one vertebra to slip over another. As a result of the fracture and the slipping, the sciatic nerve can get compressed causing pain, numbness and tingling in the lower back, buttocks and the back of the leg. It’s common for the pain to radiate all the way down to the foot.
As you can see, sciatica is caused by other more serious conditions affecting the spinal column. That is why it makes sense to see a doctor when you have sharp and/or persistent lower back pain and difficulties with movement. This could help you to get treatment timely and avoid the extra pain associated with the pinching of the sciatic nerve.
Another thing which is evident from the main causes of sciatica is that the condition is more common in older adults. This comes to show that with age, you need to take even better care of your body. For keeping all age-related musculoskeletal conditions at bay, you need to exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet which gives you sufficient amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals.