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Sciatica: Causes, risks factors and complications

Causes of sciatica

Sciatica pain
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Herniated Disk - Actually the most common cause for sciatica is a herniated disk. A disk is a cushion between the vertebra in the spine. The disk get weaker as you get older and so lose their strength to keep away pain. The gel-like content of the disk can push through its lining and puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. An estimated one in 50 people will develop a herniated disk during their lifetime and and the pain can last for more than six weeks.

Spinal Stenosis - Spinal stenosis is a condition that often affects individuals who are 60 years old and older. Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal from wear and tear. Spinal stenosis can put pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Spinal Tumors - Spinal tumors are rare but can occur along the spinal cord or sciatic nerve and this may cause pressure leading to sciatica.

Piriformis Syndrome - Deep inside the buttocks you will from the piriformis which runs over the sciatic nerve. The piriformis joins the upper thigh bone with the lower spine. it this muscle spasms it can put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Piriformis Syndrome is more common to women.

Heavy wallet - Yes, a heavy wallet can trigger piriformis syndrome. This usually occurs with men who keep their wallet in the back pocket. Why not break the habit and carry your wallet in your front pocket of your jacket and avoid pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Sacroiliitis - Sacroiliitis is the swelling from these joints located where the pelvis and lower spine connects. The pain caused by Sacroiliitis can be found in the pelvis, buttocks or even go down the legs. This pain will get worse while standing or climbing stairs. It can be caused by infection, arthritis, pregnancy or injury.
Injury and infection - An injury from a fracture, inflammation or infection may bring on sciatica.
Sometimes no preexisting condition will cause sciatica.

How to diagnose sciatica

Your doctor will determine where the pain is located by by asking you to do certain movements such as squatting, walking on your heels, lifting your legs. Imaging tests are also a way of determining sciatica. MRIs, CT scans, and even X-rays can determined the location or causes of the pain depending upon the test used.

Complications of sciatica

Bladder issues or loss of bowel control is rare but requires emergency surgery.