The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the human body. It runs from the nerve roots of the spinal cord in the lower back region, through the buttock area, down the legs, ending just below the knee. The sciatic nerve controls several muscles in the lower leg and supplies sensation to the skin of the foot and the majority of the lower leg.
Sciatica is the name given to pain caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. Anything that irritates or compresses the nerve can initiate pain, ranging from mild to severe. Spinal experts estimate that up to 40% of people will experience sciatica at least once in their life. Another term used for sciatic nerve pain is radiculopathy.
The most common cause of sciatica is the result of a herniated disc in the lumbar spine directly compressing the sciatic nerve. Other causes of sciatica include irritation of the nerve from subluxated vertebrae, tumors within the lumbar spine, infection, spondylolisthesis, cauda equina syndrome, internal bleeding due to spinal injury, osteoarthritic spurs and lumbar spinal stenosis.
The main symptom of sciatica is a shooting pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve; from the lower back, through the buttock and down the back of either leg. Other common symptoms of sciatica include numbness and tingling sensations (pins and needles) radiating down the leg into the feet and toes. The symptoms of sciatica in most cases are aggravated by prolonged sitting or standing.
At The Disc Doctor we use non-surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy for patients with Sciatica. The non-invasive HillDT Spinal Decompression table gently pulls and releases the spine allowing herniated discs, misaligned vertebrae and soft tissue structures to be drawn away from the sciatic nerve. This relieves the pressure and irritation placed on the sciatic nerve and hence decreases pain and other related symptoms.