What is Sciatica?

Sciatica refers to pain along the sciatic nerve, a large nerve extending from the lower back down the back of each leg. Sciatica is caused by irritation of the lumbar and lumbosacral spine. This can include narrowing of the spinal canal (lumbar spinal stenosis), degenerative disc disease, pregnancy, muscle spasms, or excess weight.

What are the symptoms?

  • Dull, achy, sharp, pins and needles like pain shooting down the leg
  • Lower back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Numbness and tingling down the leg
  • Weakness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • The most important thing to remember is that sciatica is not a disorder --rather a symptom of a disorder.

Another common cause of sciatica is piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome is named after the piriformis muscle. The piriformis muscle is located in the lower part of the spine, connects to the thigh bone, and assists in hip rotation. The sciatic nerve runs beneath the piriformis muscle. This muscle is susceptible to injury from a slip and fall, hip arthritis, or a difference in leg length. Such situations can cause piriformis muscle cramping and spasm to develop pinching the sciatic nerve and causing inflammation and pain.


Chiropractors help relieve this pain by freeing the restricted vertebra in the lower back pressing on the sciatic nerve. Spinal manipulations free restricted movement of the spine and helps to restore misaligned vertebral bodies to their proper position in the spine.

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