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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Understanding Sciatic nerve pain is a real pain in the butt… and back, and leg.

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Sciatica is pain that begins in the hip or back and moves down the leg. Harvard Health reports that 40% of the population can experience this condition in their lifetime. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is compresse. The large sciatic nerve extends from the sacrum and low back, along the butt and down the back leg, to the knee, and finally to the foot and calf.

Sciatica is often use to describe any pain that radiates in the leg. However, this is a mistake as different nerves pinched on different spine levels will cause pain radiating into other leg parts. They do not affect the sciatic nerve. Sciatica pain is feel down the back of your leg, not on the side or front. The treatment for radiated pain in any part of the leg is similar to that of sciatica, depending on what caused the pain.

Herniation of the Disc:

The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated L5-S1 disc, where disc material puts pressure on the sciatica nerve root. The lumbar disk is the structure between the vertebrae that absorbs shocks and distributes compression forces throughout the spine. A disc herniation occurs when the inner, softer portion of the disk pushes past the outer, stricter piece. This protrusion may come into contact with the nerve roots, causing pain to radiate down the leg.

Symptoms and Signs:

those whose sciatic pain is cause by herniated disk will experience increased pain when sitting, bending forward, or even sneezing or coughing. Standing, walking, and slightly bending backward can help alleviate symptoms.

Treatment: When disc herniations occur, we encourage low-back extension to move the herniation away from the nerve roots and towards the middle disc. This is usually done by lying on your stomach or with a pillow under your chest. As tolerated, one can progress to propped up on elbows before pressing into the cobra pose. This exercise is repeat to “pump up” the disc. You can do the extension in standing. The exercises should only be perform with minimal pain, and they should reduce the intensity of pain or cause centralization. Centralization occurs when pain does not travel as far along the leg or moves upwards towards the lower back. If extension exercises don’t reduce or centralize pain or are too painful for some, lumbar traction may be beneficial. Traction increases the space between the nerves and the discs of the low back, which helps to reduce compression.

Lumbar Stenosis

The low back can also experience sciatic symptoms due to lumbar stenosis or narrowing of the space surrounding the spinal cord and nerve roots. This narrowing may be cause by arthritis; bone spurs that encroach on the nerve space, or loss of lumbar disk height as we age. Lumbar stenosis is more common in people older than 65 but can occur at any age.

Signs & Symptoms: sciatic pain increases or radiates further down the leg when standing or walking. Pain will decrease or disappear with sitting, bending to one side, or lying down. Herniation-driven symptoms are the opposite.

Treatment: The treatment for lumbar stenosis tends to be the opposite of that for a herniation, focusing more on flexion and forward bending. This includes bringing both or one knee up to the chest or doing repeated forward bends while standing or sitting. These exercises will help to reduce or centralize the pain.

Piriformis Syndrome

It is not a low-back condition that causes sciatica. The piriformis muscle, which rotates the hip and is located deep beneath the gluteal muscles, becomes tight or spasms, compressing the sciatic nerve. Understand that this muscle is not the cause of the problem. All muscles in the body work together. Biomechanical imbalances will be note in a person who has diagnose as have piriformis.

Signs & Symptoms:

Pain or numbness/tingling radiating into the back leg from the butt. Which is worsenm by prolong sitting, running or walking, and climbing stairs

A variety of unknown causes can cause sciatica.

Sciatica is a condition that affects the nerves around and in the spine. A spinal condition does not always cause sciatica.

Our team at Integrated Body and Medicine can help if you are experiencing nerve symptoms and back pain. Our team comprises specialists that help you identify the cause of your back pain and provide customized treatments to relieve it.

Understanding Sciatica

Sciatica is a term use to describe back pain that involves nerves.It can be a symptom of another condition that results in compression or inflammation of the sciatic nerve.

Sciatica symptoms can be cause by a mechanical problem such as a herniate disk. This causes swelling or irritation to your spinal nerves. 

This can cause symptoms such as:

  • Low Back Pain
  • Pain in your legs
  • Burning sensation
  • Tingling or numbness

Sciatica symptoms vary in severity depending on their cause. Usually, you only feel leg pain or tingling on one leg. However, both legs can be affect depending on where the nerve is compresse.

Sciatica can sometimes go away by itself with simple home care. We must first find the condition’s underlying cause to provide you with the best treatment.

Three different causes can cause sciatica.

Sciatica can be cause by structural problems in the spine, such as a bulging disk or spinal stenosis. These are some of the most common causes of sciatica, but they are not the only ones.

Several lesser-known causes mimic sciatica and cause back pain. Three strange things can cause sciatica.


Shingles are a viral infection cause by the varicella-zoster virus. This is also what causes chickenpox among children. Shingles are characterize by a painful rash that can appear on different body parts.

It may be shingles if you have sciatica and notice a severe rash on your lower back, buttocks, or upper thigh. Before the rash, you may have low back pain or other symptoms.


Endometriosis is when tissue that looks like the tissue in your uterus begins to grow on other parts of your body. This can cause severe pain. You can experience sciatica if you have endometriosis and are of childbearing age.

Endometriosis can cause leg or back pain if tissue starts to grow around the spinal nerves.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Back pain and other symptoms similar to sciatica can be cause by peripheral vascular disease or other vascular disorders. Vascular disease can reduce blood flow in vital areas of your legs. This may lead to symptoms like tingling and numbness.

Diabetes puts you at risk of PVD, neuropathy, and back pain caused by the disorder. PVD and other vascular issues that mimic sciatica can affect anyone.

Back pain relief

We investigate the cause of your sciatica and back pain symptoms at Integrated Body and Medicine. We can provide you with an individualized treatment plan based on the diagnosis.

Your treatment plan is tailor to your level of discomfort and pain. We recommend ice or heat at home if you suffer from mild to moderate sciatica.

 Noninvasive treatment options include:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Stretching
  • Chiropractic care
  • Massage Therapy

Even if your symptoms are unrelated to your spine, we must address the root cause. We offer a customized treatment plan to overcome the leading cause of sciatica if you suffer from an abnormal condition that is causing back pain.

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