What Causes Sciatica?

The sciatic nerve starts from the back and passes through the buttock, thigh, and to the leg. Sciatica refers to pain that radiates on the course of the sciatic nerve from the back to the leg. In Mason, most people with sciatica experience pain on one side of the body. The severity of sciatica varies in different people; some people have mild pain while others get severe pain. Another symptom of sciatica is numbness on one side of the body. Some people also get weakness in the affected limb.

If you are having any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor. In Mason, sciatica specialists will take your medical history and examine the affected part of your body. Sometimes the doctor may order some tests to confirm what is the primary cause of your symptoms. Depending on the test results and the severity of your symptoms, the doctor may either give you conservative treatment like painkillers or suggest that you get surgery to correct a deformity.

Here are some of the factors that cause sciatica:

1. Herniated Disk

Vertebral disks cover the bones of your spine and cushion your spine against injury. The structure of the discs comprises an outer annulus layer and an inner nucleus. Sometimes the annulus layer may rupture or get a tear which makes the inner nucleus slip out and compress the spine. This is what is called a herniated disk. If the herniated disk occurs at the level of L4 to S3, you may develop the symptoms of sciatica.

2. Obesity

Being obese or overweight puts you at risk of getting sciatica. The excess weight puts a lot of pressure on your spine and it may compress the sciatic nerve, causing sciatica. To lower this risk or to reverse the symptoms of sciatica, it is important to reduce your weight. You can do this by doing regular physical exercise and by eating a healthy diet that does not have a lot of processed foods.

3. Diabetes

Two types of diabetes are type 1 diabetes that is caused by the inability to produce insulin and type 2 diabetes that occurs when your body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin. Diabetes puts you at risk of getting sciatica. This happens because the excess glucose in the blood can damage the sciatic nerve. Diabetes can also damage the walls of the blood vessels that supply the sciatic nerve, thus making you get pain, numbness, and weakness of the sciatic nerve.

4. Tumors

If you have a tumor of the spinal cord, the spinal vertebra, or other tissues that surround the spinal cord, it might compress your sciatic nerve. Sometimes the bones around your lower spine may overgrow causing bone spurs that press on the sciatic nerve. The risk of getting bone overgrowths increases as you advance in age.

5. Sitting for a Prolonged Duration

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle with minimal physical activity, you may be at a higher risk of getting sciatica. As you sit, you put a lot of pressure on your sciatic nerve. The risk of sciatica is also high in people who are in occupations that require them to carry a lot of heavy luggage on their backs. Other causes of sciatica include having trauma or injury to the back.

In summary, sciatica is a condition that presents with pain, numbness, and weakness which radiates from the lower back to the leg. Some of the causes of sciatica include having a herniated disk, obesity, trauma to the back, tumors, and diabetes. It is important to seek medical attention when you have symptoms of sciatica.

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