The sciatic nerve is known as the longest nerve in the human body. This nerve originates in the lumbar section of the spine, which consists of five thick bones that support a large percentage of a person’s body weight. Each bone in the spinal column includes a spongy disc that naturally absorbs shocks and vibrations. The disc is filled with relatively elastic fluid that changes in volume and shape according to external forces. When a disc bulges out, it can exert excessive pressure on adjacent nerves. Therefore, disc herniation is the most common cause of sciatica pain. A person who suffers from sciatica may feel painful sensations shooting down the leg and foot. The sciatic nerve actually splits into multiple branches below the knee. Therefore, the pain can be concentrated in the thigh, hamstring, shin, calf or even the heel.
Who’s at Risk of Developing Sciatica?
Aging can naturally lead to the degeneration of various parts of the spinal column. Senior citizens are at very high risks of suffering from lower back pain that is primarily caused by disc herniation, as well as some form of arthritis. Adults who engage in strenuous physical activities on a frequent basis can also feel pain in the lumbar section of the spine. For example, lifting heavy weights leads to a lot of strain and stress on the vertebral column. Discs can slip or move into extreme positions as a result of improper lifting techniques and other poor kinematics.
How is Sciatica Diagnosed?
Sciatica is best diagnosed by a qualified medical professional. By analyzing the range of motion and degree of pain, our team of professionals can usually determine the presence of sciatica. The symptoms of sciatica might sometimes be triggered only by specific movements that are somewhat unnatural for daily tasks. For instance, a person with a herniated disc may feel fine while walking upright. However, such an individual could suffer severe pain while trying to squat, kneel, bend over and do other similar maneuvers.
MRIs and CT scans are only done to examine the severity of disc herniation. These imaging techniques actually don’t have much value when it comes to diagnosing sciatica and understanding the resulting sciatica pain. Since they don’t highlight disc structure in detail, X-rays are also not effective at analyzing pain that’s caused by compression of the sciatic nerve.
Treatment for Sciatica Pain
The only way for a person to permanently eliminate sciatica pain is to undergo treatment that focuses on disc herniation. During a consultation at Principled Healthcare Solutions in Hamilton, you can learn about your treatment options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and get started.