What Causes Sciatica Pain

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Sciatica occurs when the nerve roots are compressed. These nerve roots, also known as sciatic nerve, starts at the rear of pelvis and follows to the hips and finally into each leg. Humans have around five sets of nerve root near the lower back area. They together form the sciatic nerves. Whenever these nerves are disturbed, mild to intense pain may develop in the either legs, which is commonly known as sciatica. However the pain may not limit to only legs and can spread to other body areas.

Several causes of sciatica are known till now. Few of them are – spinal stenosis of the lower back, bulging disc, spondylolisthesis, piriformis syndrome or a spinal tumor. Sometimes sciatica can also occur from injuries.

Bulging disc: the gel-like substance which is contained within the inner walls tries to come out but is contained within the outward walls.

Herniated lumbar disc: where as in this case, the disc has ruptured and the gel-like substance oozes out and therefore irritating the nerve. Also this material is acidic, which adds up to the irritation.


In both the cases, the patient is seen to suffer from pain and inflammation, resulting to tingling, numbness etc. Bulging disc and herniated lumbar disc are the most common form of sciatica among peoples.

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: this condition happens when the foramen is narrowed or gets blocked. Foramen is the passage for the nerve roots. The patient finds difficulty during walking or standing and often has to lie down to ease the pain. This kind of sciatica is more common among the elderly individuals.

Spondylolisthesis and Piriformis Syndrome: this condition occurs when the nerves are compressed due to slipping of vertebra over another. Sometimes people are born with this condition and later develop the same. In Piriformis Syndrome occurs when hip rotation disturbs the sciatic nerve, which is very difficult to diagnose. Piriformis muscle is responsible for hip rotation.

Spinal tumors: this is also an important cause for sciatica. Sometimes there is an uncontrolled growth in the spine. So the chances of compression of the sciatic nerves are greatly increased, which can also lead to the nerve damage. Tumors may be malignant or benign.

It is very important to know the root cause for sciatica. So the patient must visit a doctor and correctly know what is causing the irritation. The doctor will prescribe the correct treatment after the diagnosis. The patient should not rest for all the time as movement is much required for curing sciatica. However it is strongly advised to perform only the exercises that are prescribed by the doctor.

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