Your back is very important in order for you to get through your daily activities. However, it’s also prone to painful conditions and injury. Sciatica is a condition that affects many people, and can be debilitating from the intense pain. But what causes sciatica?
At Pinnacle Health Chiropractic, our team helps you not only determine what’s causing your back pain, but gives you the much needed relief that you’ve been waiting for. Our team is led by Dr. Jason Ablett; he helps you get your sciatica under control, no matter what the cause.
What is sciatica?
Your back is a complicated part of your body that’s made up of your spinal cord, vertebrae, discs, and nerves. Your spine is vital in protecting your spinal cord from injury, but also in movement and feeling throughout your body.
The lower part of your spine, known as your lumbar spine, contains the largest nerve in your body. This is known as your sciatic nerve, and it runs from your lower back into your buttocks and down your legs.
Sciatica occurs when something, like an injury, irritates this nerve. Because the nerve is so large and extends down your legs, slight irritation to it can lead to debilitating pain and discomfort. Sciatica is a broad term, and describes pain that starts in your lower back and runs down one of your legs.
However, there are other symptoms of sciatica as well, and they include:
- Shooting pain
- Hip pain
- Weakness in one leg
- Numbness in one leg
- Burning sensation
You may also experience some pain in your lower back, but not always. Sciatica symptoms usually only affect one side of your body, but occasionally, it does affect both.
Tumors and sciatica - are they related?
There are many different conditions that lead to sciatica. Anything that leads to compression of your sciatic nerve may cause the symptoms of sciatica to appear. Some of the more common causes of sciatica include:
- Herniated discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Trauma to your spine
However, although these are the most prevalent reasons behind sciatica, there are other less common causes as well. One of these is a spinal tumor. These tumors are rare, and sometimes very hard to diagnose.
Tumors cause sciatica-like pain if they occur in your lumbar spine, or if they form close to the sciatic nerve. As the tumor grows, it may put pressure on the nerve, causing pain and weakness in your lower extremities.
Not all spinal tumors are cancerous, though. For example, a type of benign tumor that’s known as a schwannoma can form on the outside layer of your sciatic nerve. Although it’s usually not cancerous, this growth can lead to severe symptoms if it affects your sciatic nerve.
Getting a diagnosis
Sometimes, it’s hard to differentiate the symptoms of sciatica not caused by tumors from those caused by a mass on your spine. However, there are some differentiating symptoms usually caused by spinal tumors, such as:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of feeling in your legs
- Pain that’s more severe at night
- Loss of control of your bladder or bowels
Since sciatica could be a sign of a more serious condition, it’s important to see Dr. Ablett as soon as possible to rule out severe medical conditions. When you come in for sciatica symptoms, imaging studies are ordered to give Dr. Ablett a better picture of what’s going on in your spine.
Once he determines the cause of your symptoms, Dr. Ablett creates a one-of-a-kind treatment plan for your specific condition. This may include chiropractic adjustments or ultrasound therapy to ease your symptoms.
Suffering from sciatica is not something you want to do for long. If you’re ready to explore your treatment options, book an appointment online with Dr. Ablett, or you can call Pinnacle Health Chiropractic today.