Did you know that Sciatica is actually a sign that you have an underlying problem putting pressure on a nerve in your lower back?
The most common cause of this nerve compression is a bulging or herniated lumbar disc. Piriformis syndrome is another condition often confused with sciatica, however the sciatic nerve compression occurs at the piriformis muscle in the gluteal region. The piriformis is a muscle that lies directly over the sciatic nerve. If this muscle becomes tight or if you have a spasm in this muscle, it puts pressure directly on the sciatic nerve. In many cases dysfunction of the lower extremity (leg) and/or core muscles and pelvis may result in this condition as well.
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It starts as a plexus of nerves from the lower back or lumbar spine and runs through your pelvis and buttocks, and down each leg. The sciatic nerve branches into smaller nerves as it travels down the legs providing feeling to your thighs, legs, and feet as well as controlling many of the muscles in your lower legs. The term sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of this nerve.
Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg to the lower leg and/or foot is the hallmark of sciatica. Sciatica may be accompanied by numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the affected leg. This pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating discomfort. Sometimes it may feel like a jolt or electric shock. Sciatic pain often starts gradually and intensifies over time. It’s likely to worsen when you sit, cough or sneeze.
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