THE COMMON CAUSES OF SCIATICA
Everything You Ever Wanted to know about Sciatica,
But were Afraid to Ask
Do You Have Any of These Painful Symptoms of Sciatica?
- Burning sensations that run from your butt into your leg?
- Electrical shock-like sensations that shoot down your leg?
- Gnawing, aching, cramping-like pain in your thigh or calf?
- Pins and needles sensation (many people refer to this as numbness and / or tingling) in your butt, thigh, leg or feet?
What Causes Sciatica?
Although the symptoms manifest essentially the same way and can look virtually identical to each other, there are numerous different causes of sciatica. Some of these are Disc-related and some are not. The list includes things like......
- Injury or direct trauma to the sciatic nerve.
- SUBLUXATION or misalignment of the spinal bones.
- If pain starts in the buttocks, it could very well be PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME and not a Spinal Disc problem. If your problem is Piriformis Syndrome, it will not respond favorably to Spinal Decompression Therapy.
- SPINAL DEGENERATION
- DISC BULGES / DISC HERNIATIONS
- Degenerative Arthritis of the spine, causing SPINAL STENOSIS (narrowing of the "tube" that houses the spinal cord or the "window" from where the spinal nerves exit the spine).
- Spinal Tumors
How Can I Tell What is Causing My Sciatica?
There are many different ways that doctors try to determine what is causing your back pain. Bear in mind that most of these methods are not as effective as you might imagine. As I have discussed previously (HERE), study after study after study has shown that doctors cannot determine the exact tissue that is causing the pain less than 25% of the the time (Gulp!).
- Physical Examination: This involves your doctor pushing, pulling, and stretching your back and legs to determine exactly where the sciatic nerve irritation is coming from.
- Neurological Examination: This helps doctors determine which disc is injured, and how severely injured it might be.
- Spinal X-ray: Although doctors cannot see a disc herniation with an X-ray, it does allow them to see if any signs of disc space narrowing or Spinal Degeneration is present.
- Electrical Diagnostic Tests (NCV): This can show diminished speed of nerve transmission from your back to your leg. I will warn you that this test is not only miserable to have done, in my opinion is it's not the best test out there. Most of the time you have to be really really bad for for the test to show that you have a problem. Many people who are suffering with a great deal of sciatic pain are surprised when this test comes back negative.
- MRI of Low Back: MRI's allow doctors to visualize the spinal discs to see if there are herniations blocking or pinching the sciatic nerve. I typically do not require an MRI to begin Spinal Decompression Therapy. HERE is one reason why. The previous link is another.
Which Sciatica Treatments Are Best?
Sciatica treatment depends on what the underlying cause is. If your problem is Piriformis Syndrome, we will always tackle it as a separate issue as it does not respond to Spinal Decompression Therapy. If your problem involves one of the BIG FOUR, the most effective forms of sciatic nerve treatment include things like:
- Exercises & Stretches
- Stimulation of the pathways that neurologically control spinal postural muscles (HERE)
- CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS
- OXYGEN THERAPY
- COLD LASER THERAPY
- SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY
The truth is, your Sciatica is Likely Caused by One or More of the Common Causes. Your prospects for getting better largely depend on the cause and severity of your underlying
underlying condition, how long it’s been there, as well as your general health and fitness level. The good news is that for the majority of those suffering with chronic sciatica, there is help available. Call us today at (417) 934-6337 to set up your free consultation with Dr. Schierling.