Bottom Line: Sciatica is pain caused by the irritation or compression of nerves in your low back. This can occur due to age, the stress of gravity on your spine, or injuries to your back. When a nerve is compressed or irritated by a spinal disc, bone spur, or ligament, it can become inflamed and painful. Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal column), disc herniations, or degenerative disk disease are other common causes of sciatica.
Why it Matters: So here is the easiest way to understand sciatica. Think of your nerves like power lines. They carry signals from the power station, your central nervous system, out to every muscle, organ, and cell in your body. The power lines, or nerves, in your low back travel down your hips, buttocks, and legs to your feet. If the nerve gets irritated at the power station, then it will affect everything along the path of the power line. That is why a spinal disc irritating a nerve in your low back can result in pain down into your leg!
Next Steps: Just like your local power company needs to perform maintenance on their equipment, you should also perform maintenance on your body. Getting adjusted has been shown to increase your flexibility and range of motion, help keep your spinal discs healthy, and could even prevent future episodes of back pain! Maintenance care today can go a long way towards a more youthful and happier tomorrow.
Outcomes of Acute and Chronic Patients with Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Confirmed Symptomatic Lumbar Disc Herniations Receiving High-Velocity, Low-Amplitude, Spinal Manipulative Therapy: A Prospective Observational Cohort Study with One Year Follow-Up Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. 2014
by Christopher Freytag, D.C.