Sciatica is an uncomfortable condition which can cause pain and discomfort to radiate from your lower back to your toes.
It causes such widespread pain because it relates to the sciatic nerve, the largest and longest nerve in your body. When this nerve is compressed, it can cause pain in several areas of your body, including your hips and legs.
There are ways to ease the pain and discomfort that come hand in hand with sciatica. Though options like heat pads can help ease pain temporarily, support from an osteopath or chiropractor can address the root cause of sciatica and prevent re-injury.
Sciatica can cause pain to radiate from your lower back to the surrounding areas of your body, including higher up your back, as well as your hips and legs. The pain can be felt like an electric shock, or a deep burning sensation.
It can also cause other uncomfortable sensations, like tingling, numbness or weakness in your back, hamstrings, legs and feet.
Sciatica is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. This can happen due to a number of different reasons.
You may have injured one of your spinal discs, either due to a single stress, like lifting a heavy weight, or by repetitive strains like poor posture.
It may also be caused by spinal joint degeneration around the nerve, or muscle spasms around the nerve roots and along its pathway. The piriformis muscle is often involved in sciatic nerve compression and techniques of osteopathy and chiropractic are particularly efficient at addressing this form of sciatica.
As we age, sciatica may be caused by prolonged wear and tear to the spinal joints and lumbar discs at the base of the spine, commonly caused by overactivity throughout your life, or beginning a new, vigorous form of exercise later in life.
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