BPS 11: 7 Common Causes of Sciatic Nerve Pain

An effective treatment of sciatica requires understanding the underlying medical cause. Once the cause of the sciatica pain is understood, the root cause of the pain can be addressed. In this article, we will discuss the seven common causes of sciatica.

1. Isthmic Spondylolisthesis

One common cause of sciatica is isthmic spondylolisthesis. This occurs when a fracture results in a vertebral body to slip onto another. For instance, this can occur when the L4 vertebra slips over to the L5 vertebra.

The combination of the stress due to fracture, disc space reduction, and the slipping forward of the vertebral body can result in a pinched nerve. This results in sciatica symptoms.

2. Spinal Tumor

In some cases, a tumor can put pressure on a nerve root causing sciatica. The tumor sometimes originates in the spine. But usually, spinal tumor develops when cancer in a different part of the body spreads to the spine.

3. Disc Degeneration

Disc degeneration is a natural process of aging. In most cases, this does not cause any problem. However, smoothies the disc degeneration results in irritation of the nerve root. When this happens, it leads to sciatica.

Nerve irritation occurs when the degenerative disc becomes weakened due to excessive motion. It results in the release of the inflammatory proteins from inside the disco that irritates the nerve resulting in sciatic nerve pain.

Another cause of sciatica due to disc degeneration is the development of bone spurs. These are the bony projections that develop along the edges of the bone. They may press against the nerve resulting in sciatic nerve pain.

4. Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is associated with inflammation around the spine. The condition is long term that causes pain in the sacroiliac joints. Symptoms of the condition also include sciatic nerve pain.

5. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar spinal stenosis can also lead to sciatica. The condition caused due to natural aging. It is common in adults aged 60 years or older. A combination of overgrowth of soft tissue, enlarged facet joints, and bulging disc place pressure on the nerve roots. This results in sciatic pain.

6. Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can also result in sciatic nerve pain. A disorder in the sacroiliac joint situated at the bottom of the spine can cause irritation of the L5 nerve. It will result in leg pain similar to one experience in sciatica.

7. Piriformis Syndrome

Sciatica can also result due to piriformis syndrome. The sciatic nerve runs under – and in some cases through – the piriformis muscle. Piriformis muscle can pinch the nerve that can cause pain similar to sciatica pain.

The above are the most common causes of sciatica pain. Your doctor will carry out a detailed diagnosis to know the exact cause of the condition. Keep in mind that being overweight can increase the risk factor of the condition. Also, smoking and nicotine intake can contribute to disc degeneration that can lead to sciatic nerve pain.


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Robin BackPainExpert

Physiotherapists & Back Pain Expert

Twenty years ago I was lucky to survive a serious hockey injury. In a sport where big men zoomaround on hard ice and solid wood sticks are slung furiously, a difficult back injury is what every player fears.
It took a long time for me to climb back to a normal life. But when I did, I was determined to spend the rest of his life helping back pain victims everywhere.
As a physiotherapist and back pain expert I have treated thousands of patients over 20 years, built a respected back pain clinic, created the site BackPainSecrets.Com and authored the book “Back Pain Secrets.”
Learn more about me here.