The Different Conditions That Cause Sciatica

Rahul Sood, D.O.

When people complain about sciatica, it’s easy to think they’re talking about a medical condition. However, sciatica actually describes a specific type of nerve pain that branches out from your lower back and radiates into your hip, buttock, and down your leg. 

Sciatica symptoms start because your sciatic nerve gets pinched. That means the only way to find effective, long-term relief is by finding out what’s causing this nerve compression. 

Our team of qualified experts at Metro Pain Centers has advanced training in identifying pain conditions, including those that commonly cause sciatica. Here are the most common conditions we see that cause sciatica symptoms.

Herniated discs

An estimated 90% of sciatica cases develop because of herniated discs in the lumbar spine (lower back). 

You have discs in between each of your moveable vertebrae that act as cushions in your spine. The discs have a tough exterior but a soft, gel-like center. If you have a herniated disc, this soft center bulges through the outer wall, causing it to press on nearby nerve roots. Plus, this disc material also contains hyaluronic acid, an acidic irritant, that can trigger even more nerve inflammation.

Degenerative disc disease

Each of your vertebrae come together to form your spine, thanks to the facet joints that hold them together. However, these bones can degenerate over time, causing joint inflammation and even abnormal bone growths called bone spurs.

Both inflammation and bone spurs add abnormal bulk to your spine, leading to nerve root compression. As your discs degenerate, they can also secrete inflammatory proteins, which increase inflammation of your sciatic nerve.

Spinal stenosis

Older adults can have more issues with sciatica because of spinal stenosis, a condition that causes narrowing of the space around the spinal column. 

The vertebrae in your lumbar spine contain small openings that hold nerve bundles. A nerve root can branch off and exit the spine on each side of the vertebra through a narrow space called a foramen.

In a healthy spine, these nerves have plenty of room to pass through and exit the spinal canal. When spinal stenosis develops, degenerative changes in the spine, like bone spurs, reduce these spaces, constricting the nerves in the area.

Treating conditions that cause sciatica

Fortunately, sciatica symptoms can significantly improve with the right treatment. Our team relies on noninvasive methods whenever possible, especially physical therapy, which can relieve your symptoms while building your back’s strength and restoring your mobility.

Additional treatments for sciatica often include:

  • Medications
  • Steroid or epidural injections
  • Lumbar decompression

In most cases, you can expect your sciatica symptoms to improve within a few weeks. And with targeted treatment to address your underlying condition, you’ll have long-term results.

To find out what’s causing your sciatica, contact one of our Metro Pain Centers offices in New Jersey or New York to schedule an appointment today. You can call the nearest office or use online booking.

Rahul Sood, D.O.

Rahul Sood, D.O.

About Rahul Sood, D.O.

As a board-certified anesthesiologist and doctor of osteopathy, Rahul Sood, DO, is an integral part of the team at Metro Pain Centers. He is also a specialist in venous medicine with an extensive history and experience in treating lower extremity spider and varicose veins. He practices from the offices in Clifton, Middletown, Riverdale, Edison, and Jersey City, New Jersey; and Staten Island and Ardsley, New York.

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