Almost everyone has heard the term Sciatica, but is everyone who’s familiar with the term really knows what the diagnosis means? When most people think of sciatica they think of some type of pain or numbness in the leg. But what causes this condition and how is this term “Sciatica” so common?
Well, correctly diagnosed sciatica is due to a complex call “Nerve Impingement”, more commonly known as a pinched nerve. Nerves carry signals to and from your brain and spinal cord. Everything your body does, consciously or unconsciously is controlled through proper nerve function.
Unfortunately, it can be common that these signals can become unhealthy due to damage. In the case of Sciatica, the nerves in your low back that carry all signals to and from the leg become distorted. With harmful pressure placed on the nerves to the leg, it sends false signals to you brain like pain, pins and needles, numbness, and burning. But also works in reverse, now your brain is unable to send the correct signals to the legs resulting in weakness in the leg muscles, difficulty balancing, and in more severe cases wasting away of muscles.
How does this happen and where does it happen? The answer to these questions is due to numerous causes and almost anywhere nerves are. But the most common answer is due to misalignment of the spine and at the nerve root where nerves exit the spine.
Nerve impingement doesn’t only cause sciatica, but also other common conditions such as numbness/tingling in the hands and feet, headaches, back pain, tight muscles, and digestive issues just to name a few. It only takes 2-3mm of change in the size on the space when the nerve exits the spine to cause the symptoms of a “pinched nerve”. You could have multiple “pinched nerves” right now and not know it.
Without proper diagnosis and treatment a simple cause of a pinched nerve cause cascade into more serious and permanent disorders that may require surgery. Early diagnosis is paramount so that correcting a pinch can be a cinch.