Sciatica a Pain in the Back or Butt ?
A common cause of pain patients experience is SCIATICA. Sciatica is pain radiating down the back of the leg. The symptom is often reported as numbness, tingling or shooting type pain (sometimes extending to the toes). This referred pain is often due to a cause located above the painful lower limb. The usual suspects are either GLUTEAL MUSCLE DYSFUNCTION (the bum muscles) or LOWER BACK DYSFUNCTION.
It is an important differentiation for the treating practitioner to make because it changes the type of Chiropractic treatment preformed and ultimately the success of treatment. It is a job our Chiropractors at Back Pain Relief Clinic, South Fremantle have much experience with and our treatments are second to none. In this article we will discuss the common causes of sciatica in both the lower back and gluteal regions.
LOW BACK CAUSES OF SCIATICA
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. The nerve originates in the lower back and runs through the buttocks into the leg to supply the leg muscles with power and ability to function. There are two sciatic nerves, one for each leg. Pressure to the nerve from bodily structures can cause 'sciatica'. Common causes of this in the lower back are as follows:
- Herniated Disc(s): Your spinal discs have a soft inner material. When this material breaks form and protrudes from its natural placement, it can push against nerves near the spine.
- Degeneration: As we age the spine degenerates it becomes stiff, joint space is reduced and the smooth lubricated surfaces of the joint become rough and jagged. The formation of bone spurs are common and may place pressure on the nerve if the spur grows in a certain direction.
- Trauma: Injury, accident, or other changes (such as pregnancy) can irritate or damage the sciatic nerve, causing pain and discomfort.
GLUTEAL CAUSES OF SCIATICA
The sciatic nerve is made up of many 'root nerves'. Once the roots have blended into one singular nerve, it passes through the gluteal muscles on its way to the lower leg. It passes in closest proximity to a specific gluteal muscle called the piriformis muscle. If this muscle is tight or inflamed it can place pressure on the sciatic nerve which passes around and sometimes (in a rare percentage of the population) even through it. When this happens it is called PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME which results in the back of the leg pain identical to sciatic pain that originates in the lower back.
There are other culprits for gluteal sciatica such as:
- Cysts or muscular infection
- Other muscular or soft tissue structures
These are encountered rarely, and the piriformis is the one most commonly dealt with.
This leaves us with the question. How do we tell if my sciatica is coming from my back or my buttocks?
Your Back Pain Relief Clinic chiropractor in South Fremantle will be able to answer this question for you. The key is in a solid history of the patient’s complaint and point of pain. Then by “testing” or “exerting” the gluteal and lower back regions in isolation we look for a reproduction in the patient’s pain. Treatment is then modified appropriately, book now so we can have you back at your best. No if's and's or butts.