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Uncovering the Causes of Sciatic Nerve Pain

Health, Injury, Joint Pain

Are you one of the 40% of people who is grappling with the agony of sciatic nerve pain? The good news is that there’s hope, and it has nothing to do with back surgery. At ProMet PT, we offer a wide range of physical therapy services, blending traditional and complementary approaches to not only provide relief for sciatic nerve pain, but to also educate you on how to prevent sciatic nerve pain in the future. Considering learning to be at the heart of our organization, we present to you, the reader, the top causes of sciatic nerve pain to help you obtain a foundational understanding of what might be triggering yours.

Medical help

Where Is the Sciatic Nerve?

The sciatic nerve traces its path from the lumbar (lower) spinal column, where it splits, branches out through the buttock region, and travels down the back of the thighs and calves. Sciatic nerve pain, called sciatica on occasion, often stemming from nerve compression somewhere along this extensive journey, can manifest as a mild ache or escalate into an excruciating experience, characterized by sharp, burning sensations, that travel down the leg. At times, it may feel like a muscle strain, an electric shock, and can be accompanied by numbness, tingling, or the worst possible scenario, and at its progressive stages, muscle weakness in the foot and leg*.

What Are the Common Causes of Sciatic Nerve Pain?

  • Congenital Structural Defects: Some individuals are born with spinal structural anomalies that make the sciatic nerve more vulnerable to compression like scoliosis.
  • Bone Spurs: Extra vertebral (spinal) bone growth, known as bone spurs, can encroach upon the nerve in the spinal canal.
  • Herniated Discs: When a spinal disc is compressed enough, herniates, or protrudes, causing inflammation that presses on the sciatic nerve, as it travels through the spinal column.
  • Spinal Stenosis: Defined as the narrowing of the spinal cord canal, in conjunction with the decrease of intervertebral disc (joint) space.
  • Spondylolisthesis: When, over time, one vertebra slips or slides forward over another, compressing the nerve.
  • Piriformis Syndrome: The buttocks muscle, responsible for stabilizing and moving the hip, located deep in the body, known as the piriformis, may press on the sciatic nerve.
  • Additional Causes: Localized inflammatory conditions, stemming from injuries or illnesses like pelvic fractures or tumors (extremely rare), can irritate the sciatic nerve.

What To Do If You Have Sciatic Nerve Pain

At ProMet PT, we understand the complexities of sciatic nerve pain and offer tailored treatments to address your unique needs. Don’t let sciatica hold you back any longer; reach out to us today for a comprehensive assessment and personalized plan of care. We have a trusted network of specialists should we recommend testing, but please don’t wait any longer. Take the first step to reclaiming your pain-free functional and active life and call ProMet PT today.

*If you are experiencing muscle weakness and have not seen a medical professional yet, please call us or your primary care physician right away.


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