Exploring the Different Sciatica Causes
Sciatica is merely a term that is used to describe the symptoms that can arise when the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated. This means sciatica is the effect in a cause-effect relationship. In that relationship, though, the cause is not always the same. Many different spinal abnormalities are considered sciatica causes, including anything from disc degeneration to a tumor on the sciatic nerve.
A Handful of Common Sciatica Causes
Five of the most commonly seen causes of sciatica include a bulging disc, a herniated disc, spondylolisthesis, a bone spur, and spinal arthritis. A bulging disc, the most common of sciatica causes, may lead to sciatica when a section of an intervertebral disc in the lumbar (lower) spine protrudes beyond its normal boundaries and presses on the sciatic nerve. A herniated disc involves a tear in the annulus fibrosus (outer wall) of a disc, whereby jelly-like fluid from the inner nucleus pulposus of the disc may seep out and irritate the sciatic nerve. Spondylolisthesis describes the slippage, usually forward, of a vertebra in relation to the vertebra below it. A displaced vertebra in the lumbar spine may pinch the sciatic nerve. Bone spurs are irregular enlargements of bone which can grow anywhere in the body, including on the lumbar or sacral vertebrae, where the spur may close in on and impinge the sciatic nerve. Spinal arthritis describes the enlarging and instability of spinal joints, which can compress the sciatic nerve.
What Can You Do to Treat Sciatica Causes?
Before you can do anything to treat your sciatica, you must first figure out what is causing it. It may be easy for you to feel the symptoms and deduce them as possibly being sciatica, but in order to receive a proper diagnosis, you will need to visit your doctor. Your doctor will not only be able to confirm or refute your symptoms as sciatica, but he or she will also try to discover the underlying sciatica cause or causes. From there, your doctor will provide you with some suggested treatment options such as medication, gentle stretching exercises, and epidural steroid injections. However, none of this can be possible without first paying a visit to your doctor.