Health & Wellness

What Causes Sciatica?

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica is pain that radiates along the course of the sciatic nerve from the lumbar spine, through the hip and buttocks and goes all the way to the leg. Sciatica affects one side of the body and is mostly caused by a herniated disc or bone spurs which cause narrowing of the spine and this results in compression of spinal nerves like the sciatic nerve. The compression of the spine causes low back pain, inflammation, and numbness.

The low back pain that occurs in sciatica can be mild or severe and the character of the pain can be burning or throbbing. The low back pain in Austin is worsened by sneezing, sitting for long durations, or coughing. Severe sciatica may require surgical management but mild sciatica can be managed by lifestyle modification and pain relievers.

What Causes Sciatica?

The main cause of sciatica is pinching of the sciatic nerve by a herniated disk or a bone overgrowth in the spine. Disc herniation and bone overgrowths compress the spine and this causes narrowing of the spine and compression of spinal nerves. Tumors of the spine or around the spine can also compress the spine resulting in sciatica. The sciatic nerve can also be damaged by diabetes.

Other conditions that can cause sciatica include piriformis syndrome which causes the piriformis muscle to become tense thus compressing the sciatic nerve. Spinal stenosis which is a condition where the spine narrows can also compress the sciatic nerve resulting in sciatica. Some factors can trigger sciatica like being overweight because the spinal cord is under increased pressure and can be compressed and narrowed.

Old age also increases the risk of a herniated disc and bone spurs which are risk factors of sciatica. Living a sedentary lifestyle with prolonged sitting durations can lead to sciatica. Sciatica can also be triggered by putting things in your back pocket which puts pressure on your buttocks and is even worse when you sit on things in your back pocket.

Wearing very tight clothes can reduce blood circulation and restrict comfortable movement while putting a lot of pressure on the nerves which are underneath your skin and muscles. Wearing high heels causes the front of your feet to bear the whole body weight and this can strain the thighs resulting in irritation of the sciatic nerve. Occupations that put a lot of strain on your back like lifting heavy weights also trigger sciatica.

Prevention of Sciatica

You can prevent sciatica by doing regular exercise. Strengthening the muscles in the lower back and abdomen helps to keep your back strong thus preventing sciatica. Weight management is also a method of preventing sciatica because it reduces the pressure on your spine. You should avoid sitting for prolonged durations and practice sitting with a proper posture.

You can maintain a proper sitting posture by sitting on a chair that has lower back support and armrests. You can also use a pillow to support your lower back and to maintain a good curvature of the lower spine. Ensure that you keep your hips and lower spine level.

Adopt a good sleeping position that does not strain your back like sleeping on your stomach. When lifting heavy weights, do not bend over but instead bend your knees and this will avoid putting a strain on your back. Avoid wearing tight clothes, putting things in your back pocket, and wearing high heels. Eat a healthy diet and stay well hydrated because dehydration can deflate your spine causing it to narrow.

Conclusion

Sciatica is a pain that is caused by pinching of the sciatic nerve due to disc herniation or bone spurs which narrow the spine. The pain radiates along the spinal cord. You can prevent sciatica by adopting a good sitting posture, managing your weight, and avoiding activities that weaken your lower back.

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