There can be a variety of root causes of sciatica, such as a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, facet joint dysfunction, osteoarthritis and more. The center of a lumbar disc is filled with a jelly-like substance that can break through the outer layer and press on a nearby nerve root.
This nerve compression can cause nerve root pain in the back. Keep in mind that the disc walls are abundant with nerve fibers. Any tear through the wall can cause severe pain. As people age, the lumbar discs lose hydration and wear down. There is no cushion for any impact. Tears can also develop and cause pain. This condition is known as degenerative disc disease.
Facet joint dysfunction can also cause back pain and sciatica. If the cartilage of these joints is damaged or not functioning properly, the end result can be back pain or sciatica. Osteoarthritis is associated with aging. It is a condition that gradually progresses.
The discs and facet joints are worn down. It causes back pain, swelling and instability. Any trauma or compression fracture can result in sciatica, such as a car accident or a fall.
Do You Feel That Way Too?
Backpain and sciatica are often related. Sciatica causes back pain, numbness and weakness that radiates along the sciatic nerve.
The sciatic nerve is a big nerve that travels the full length of the body, following the lumbar region of the back and down the leg all the way to the feet.
Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. You might feel the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it's especially likely to follow a path from your low back to your buttock and the back of your thigh and calf. Pressure is usually put upon the lumbar nerve root. It is important to note that sciatica is a symptom of an underlying problem. It is not a diagnosis in itself. The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating pain. Sometimes it can feel like a jolt or electric shock. It can be worse when you cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms. Usually only one side of your body is affected. Some people also have numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot.
You might have pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another part.
Well, here's 4 things you can do:
1. First off, you need to make a decision about getting help. So many people procrastinate for so long, thinking that Sciatic pain will ‘just go away with time’, but then 6 months down the line they’re still putting up with it, and nothing’s changed… Or it gets worse
2. Next, do the RIGHT exercises - one of the best things to help you ease your Back and Sciatic pain is to do the right series of progressed exercises - the right exercises given to you by a Physical therapist will help reduce pain, and allow you to move freely again quick - and make sure that the problems don’t come back anytime soon (or aggravate your back even more like some exercises do).
3. Avoid sitting and long periods of rest - ever tried to get up from the sofa after resting for a while, but you struggle because your back feels so painful and tight? That’s because one of the worst things you can do that adds to Back pain is rest, and sit for long periods of time. Too much rest, and sitting in awkward positions makes your back stiff and tight. It would really help if you were given appropriate strengthening exercises for better posture, alongside hands-on treatment, to get you active and healthy as quickly as possible.
4. Get real, “hands-on” Physio - PT is proven to help people with low-back pain. In fact, at Body Balance Physical Therapy, it’s one of the most common injuries we see. If your back pain is affecting your job, your ability to keep active, if it threatens your independence or gets in the way of spending quality time with family and friends - Physical Therapy can help get you back to living the life you deserve as quickly as possible.
If you would like to know how the Physical Therapy team at Body Balance Physical Therapy can help you live with less Back pain - we invite you to start with a completely free, no-obligation, risk free appointment at our clinic.