WHAT CAUSES SCIATICA?
You would probably not be wasting your time with a Blog Post on SCIATICA if you or someone you love did not have pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, or combinations of all of the above in your leg(s). Stay with me for a few minutes and I will help you expand your knowledge-base concerning this all too common problem, what causes it, and how best to manage it.
Low back pain is not only an epidemic here in America, it is the second most common reason that people visit doctors offices. A different study that came out just a few months ago said that low back pain is the number one reason that people miss work worldwide. How are most people dealing with this low back pain? We'll get to that in a moment, but suffice it to say that the standard medical recommendation of drugs and rest is not working out very well for a large segment of the population.
The impact of low back pain and sciatica is enormous in numerous areas; financially, physically, and emotionally. We know that eight years ago, the cost of low back pain was 100 billion dollars. It is dramatically higher now. The UK Express said of Great Britain, which is slightly over one seventh our population, "Around 4.2 million working days were lost by workers aged 50-64 alone. Those aged 25-34 were absent for 1.89 million days due to back pain, while those in the 35-49 bracket missed 3.86million days in the office. The statistics also show a dramatic increase in the number of sick days taken because of the chronic condition - up from 7.7 million lost days in 2013 to 9.96 million in 2014."
We also know that chronic low back pain is a serious enough problem that nearly 50% of those suffering with it have GIVEN UP SEX --- and almost 3/4 have GIVEN UP ALL FORMS OF EXERCISE. In other words, it's destroying people's lives on almost every conceivable level. And any time that you see studies on chronic low back pain, you have to realize that this creature is a double-headed monster that frequently involves Sciatica.
Sciatica is irritation of the Sciatic Nerve that runs down the leg. The spinal nerves exit the spinal cord through small windows between the vertebrae. These windows are called the IVF (Intervertebral Foramen). If for any reason, the window is made smaller or the sciatic nerve is pinched, stretched, or rubbed, an irritation of the nerve takes place. The thing you have to remember is that all the nerves from the lumbar spine (the lowest 5 vertebrae in your back) as well as your sacrum (tailbone) grow together to become one nerve --- the Sciatic Nerve. The Sciatic Nerve is not only the longest nerve in your body (it stretches clear to the toes), but the biggest nerve as well (it is as big around as your thumb up where it originates).
WHAT ARE THE TOP TEN REASONS FOR SCIATICA?
Although there are many reasons people develop Sciatica, some are much more common than others. Sciatica is not in and of itself a diagnosis, but a symptom of an underlying cause that requires a diagnosis. My list will try to cover the more common reasons for Sciatica first, leaving the less common (and typically more dangerous) for later in the list. Bear in mind that this list is being presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any specific disease or health problem. On many of these items, I will give you a link to look at. The link will provide far more detailed information than what I present here. For my intents and purposes, I am referring to all leg pain (whether referred or radicular) as "Sciatica". It makes it easier for patients to understand.
WHAT CAN I DO IF I HAVE SCIATICA?
This is where the rubber meets the road. What can you do to effectively deal with your Sciatica? You are likely reading this because the drugs, shots, and therapy has not worked for you thus far. Because I am a fix-it-the-simplest-cheapest-way-first kind of guy, I will give you a few things you might want to try on your own --- and prevent you having to resort to riding the MEDICAL MERRY GO ROUND.
Here is a list of treatments that will require a visit to someone with some expertise in the field.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).