Question: What back problem could be causing sciatica?

I have been suffering from sciatica for a few months. I have not been to a doctor because I didn't really think there is anything that could medically be done.

I guess my question is: could another type of back problem give me the same symptoms? Also, my back cracks a lot when I twist and turn. Is that OK?

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Doctor's response: Back cracking is natural

The back cracking is not a problem and is nothing to worry about. Cracking in the back is natural and is not a cause of pain, nor is it a known cause of any back problem.

If you have had leg pain for a few months it would be good for you to see a spine specialist. You need to be examined for the cause of your sciatica. Sciatica is not a diagnosis but a symptom (it just means that you have leg pain and/or low back pain). Common causes of sciatica include spinal stenosis and lumbar disc herniation.

It is important to learn the cause of your sciatica, because different causes will lead to different treatment options. The first step is for you to see a doctor for an examination, and you may then possibly need further testing such as a MRI scan.

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In Spine-health’s Doctor Advice section, physicians respond to frequently asked questions about back pain issues. These responses represent the opinion of one physician, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the broader medical community. The advice presented has not been peer reviewed by Spine-health’s medical advisory board.