Sciatica can stem from of several different medical conditions, the most general being a herniated (slipped) disc.
The spinal column is made up of three parts:
A disc is made of a strong and resilient type of tissue (cartilage), and acts as a cushion between each vertebrae and allows the spine to be flexible. A herniated disc occurs when a disc is temporarily pushed out of place and puts pressure on the sciatic nerve.Other causes of sciatica include:
Lumbar spinal stenosis - A common cause of low back and leg pain. A narrowing of the spinal cord in the lower back that may press up against the sciatic nerve.
Spondylolisthesis - Common cause of lower back pain and leg pain. A condition in which a disc may slip forward over the vertebra below it, pinching the sciatic nerve.
Tumors within the spine may compress the root of the sciatic nerve.
Infection within the spine.
Injury within the spine.
Cauda equina syndrome - a rare, but serious condition that affects the nerves on the lower part of the spinal cord; it requires immediate medical attention. Cauda equina syndrome may permanently damage the nervous system and even lead to paralysis.
Sciatica is a common work injury causing pain to the lower back. Diagnosing Sciatica requires the right doctor that knows what to look for. Often times doctors examining an injured worker will misdiagnose the back injury as a lumbar strain, when in fact, it may be a herniated disc.
Sciatica is a “symptom” not the cause of your back and leg pain. Sciatica is a type of pain that patients are experiencing -- something is causing the sciatica. Ask A Back Pain Doctor.