Sciatica - Causes
Sciatica is the resulting pain and discomfort that follows a disorder of the lumbar region of the spine in which a pinched sciatic nerve root refers pain from the buttocks down to the toes. Appropriately then, those at risk of lower back injury are more likely to suffer from sciatic pain. For now we will focus on the disorder and underlying cause of your sciatic pain.
A herniated disc of the lumbar vertebra L4-5 through the sacral vertebra S1-3, is the most common cause of sciatic nerve pain. Intervertebral discs serve as cushions between the vertebrae of your spine and act as shock absorbers during activity. The disc is primarily composed of water while the annulus fibrous (outer disc) is tough it has a jelly-like center known as the nucleus pulposus. When a disc bulges or ruptures (herniated) it can place pressure on the sciatic nerve consequently causing pain in the lower back and legs. Once the sciatic nerve has been irritated most people complain of pain in the buttock and back of the leg. However, in more serious cases a herniated disc can irritate the nerve to the point of bladder and bowel problems.
Your spinal cord, which extends from the base of your brain to the upper lumbar (lower back), is contained in the vertebral canal. Spinal Stenosis, a nerve compression disorder, occurs when an area of the spinal canal narrows, placing pressure on the surrounding nerves. When spinal stenosis occurs in the lower-back, it may be the lumbar nerves that are pinched thus creating sciatic-like pain.
Most commonly affecting the lumbar spine this disorder occurs when a vertebra is displaced slipping forward over the sub adjacent vertebra. Consequently, the sciatic nerve may be pinched causing lower back pain and leg pain. Spondylolithesis is usually caused by spinal degeneration and physical stress.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Firstly, DDD is more appropriately a degenerative process that occurs naturally with age, rather than a disease. Over time the discs that support our vertebrae begin to deteriorate, becoming more rigid, losing their ability to move fluidly and freely.
Piriformis syndrome occurs when the piriformis muscle spasms, irritating the sciatic nerve, which runs beneath the muscle deep in the buttocks. Deep pain is felt in the buttock and is often referred to the hips, lower back and the legs. Often the injury is caused by over-training, running too hard and too frequently for example, but is not limited to athletics. Furthermore, most people complain of increasing pain in a seated position. Technically speaking, piriformis syndrome is not sciatica even though it produces similar pain.
Sacroiliac Joint Pain
The sacroiliac joint is located where the pelvis connects to the spine. It is not a joint with a lot of movement such as the hip, knee, or shoulder, but the SI joint is critical in the transfer of the upper body load to the lower body. Sacroiliac joint pain can be difficult to diagnose for several reasons. For one, the SI (sacroiliac) joint often shows up as normal on diagnostic imaging such as CAT scans, MRIs, X-Rays, and bone scans. It is nearly impossible to isolate the SI joint on tests. In addition, it is difficult to manipulate or palpate the sacroiliac joint.
To further complicate the diagnosing of sacroiliac joint pain, other problems such as sciatica, back pain, hip arthritis, and others can cause the same or similar symptoms.
More generally though, age, occupation, lifestyle and genetics are factors to be aware of when considering back pain, sciatica and your susceptibility to each. Firstly, spinal disc deterioration begins around 30 years of age and most commonly people suffer herniated discs in their 30's and 40's. Moreover, to make matters worse, men and women in their prime are more likely to work a job that requires twisting, lifting and carrying heavy loads. Conversely, those who lead a less active sedentary lifestyle are more likely to develop sciatica than active people.
Sciatic Pain Treatments
Compression of the sciatic nerve can occur in various locations and the exact cause and location is not always known. Treating the symptoms can be helpful to manage the pain but treating the source of the compression will result in faster sciatica relief. We recommend that you see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and to determine the cause of the compression on the sciatic nerve.
Inferno Wrap® Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™
Blood flow stimulation therapy, or BFST®, should be used over your lumbar region and lower back to improve blood flow and nourish soft tissue. Your body needs a fresh supply of blood to improve the health of your tissue and treat the muscle strain or irritation to relieve the compression of your sciatic nerve.
Unfortunately, when you are suffering from sciatica it can be painful to even walk or lift your leg. When you limit movement in your hip the blood flow is reduced, starving your tissue of the necessary oxygen and nutrients.
The trick is to find a way to increase blood flow without causing pain and/or further inflaming the muscle or discs. This is where blood flow stimulation therapy, or BFST®, becomes a powerful tool.
BFST® compliments your body's natural healing process By promoting blood flow while you give your sciatic nerve the rest it needs.
The Back/Hip Inferno Wrap® uses a patented process to generate the same energy that is part of the sun's spectrum of light, the same energy that is necessary to all living things for optimum health. The energy emitted from the Energy Web® stimulates blood flow to your lower back and hip, more than your body would ever be able to generate on it's own, giving your body the boost it needs to keep your spine and lower back muscles as healthy as possible and reduce the risk of irritation, inflammation and herniation. The soothing energy reaches deep into your body to whisk away the toxins and dead cells, and rejuvenate your muscle tissues for improved elasticity.
Freezie Wrap® Cold Therapy
If you are experiencing referred pain above the knee or in your lower leg caused by the compression of your sciatic nerve, cold compression therapy can provide some relief. The cooling sensation along with the compression can help to numb the nerves to help alleviate the pain. However, treatment of the location of the compression is most important to treat the source of this referred pain.
Applying cold compression wherever you are experiencing pain will help. The Back/Hip Freezie Wrap® is versatile and can be used to treat your lower back, hip or leg. It's unique supercharged cooling gel pack, chills in the fridge, not in the freezer like ice or other freezer packs, giving you deep cold therapy without the risk of 'cold burns' or cryoburn.
Treat your sciatica pain with cold compression therapy as needed throughout the day. The Back/Hip Freezie Wrap® can be used to apply cold in a safe, convenient and effective way - and the gel pack is reusable.
With these easy-to-use, home therapies, cold compression and BFST®, you will notice significantly reduced pain and an incredible improvement in your pain and range of motion.
We recommend that you consult your doctor and/or physiotherapist before using any of our outstanding products, to make sure they're right for you and your condition.
Please be aware that this information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.