Sciatica and degenerative disc disease is a common symptom of back pain, especially pain which affects the large nerve in your body which extends from the lower back down the back of your legs. If you have sciatica you will likely have a tingling or burning sensation down your leg, pain that gets worse if you sit, a shooting pain which makes standing difficult, a constant pain on one side of your buttocks, or difficulty moving one of your legs or feet.
Sciatica often affects one side of your body only. The pain will typically extend from your lower back down to your thighs and leg. It may even extend to your foot. For some people, this pain can be severe and often debilitating. For other people it is infrequent and only a mild irritation, but it can get worse. If the symptoms get worse and you experience weakness in your lower extremities and a loss of bladder control, you should seek medical care immediately. Sciatica is caused by irritation located at your lower spine.
There are six major causes of sciatica. The first is a slipped disc. When this happens it can cause a pinched nerve and sciatica. The second is a degenerative disc. If you have a degenerative disc it can start to irritate your nerve root which then causes sciatica. The third is a condition where you get a stress fracture on one of your discs which then causes it to slip onto the other disc. This pinches the nerve and results in sciatica. The fourth condition is when your spinal canal begins to narrow with age. This places pressure on your nerve roots and can lead to sciatica. The fifth is piriformis syndrome. The sixth is sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
It can also be caused by scar tissue compressing against your nerve root. Muscle strain can lead to inflammation which puts pressure on your nerve root as well. You might also have a spinal tumor or an infection. Pregnancy can also lead to sciatica. It might also be caused by obesity and not regularly exercising, wearing high heels, or sleeping on a mattress which is too soft. Treatment often involves a comprehensive exercise plan. This form of physical therapy includes strengthening exercises as well as stretching exercises and low-impact aerobic exercises.
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