Sciatica Causes

Sciatica Causes

When discussing sciatica it is important to understand the underlying medical cause of the sciatica symptoms in order to find effective treatment.

6 Most Common Causes of Sciatica

There are 6 lower back problems that are the most common causes of sciatica:

    Lumbar herniated disc
    A herniated disc occurs when the soft inner core of the disc (nucleus pulposus) leaks out, or herniates, through the fibrous outer core (annulus) and irritates the contiguous nerve root.

    A herniated disc is sometimes referred to as a slipped disc, ruptured disc, bulging disc, protruding disc, or a pinched nerve. Sciatica is the most common symptom of a lumbar herniated disc.

Article continues below

More Causes of Sciatica

In addition to the most common causes, a number of other conditions can cause sciatica, including:

  • Pregnancy. The changes that the body goes through during pregnancy, including weight gain, a shift on one's center of gravity, and hormonal changes, can cause sciatica during pregnancy.
  • Scar tissue. If scar tissue compresses the nerve root, it can cause sciatica.
  • Muscle strain. In some cases, inflammation related to a muscle strain can put pressure on a nerve root and cause sciatica.
  • Spinal tumor. In rare cases, a spinal tumor can impinge on a nerve root in the lower back and cause sciatica symptoms.
  • Infection. While rare, an infection that occurs in the low back can affect the nerve root and cause sciatica.

It is important to know the underlying clinical diagnosis of the cause of sciatica, as treatments will often differ depending on the cause.

For example, specific sciatica exercises, which are almost always a part of a treatment program, will be different depending on the underlying cause of the symptoms.

Next Page: Sciatica Symptoms
Pages:
Stephen Hochschuler
Article written by: Stephen H. Hochschuler, MD