Neuro-Anatomy Made Simple.
The sciatic nerve itself is made up of 5 nerve roots that leave the lower lumbar spine and the sacrum from L4 to S3. The nerve further divides into the tibial and peroneal nerves as it descends past the knee into the leg supplying motor and sensory function to many different muscles in the thigh and lower leg and foot. Anatomically it is the largest nerve in the body. Because the sciatic nerve is made up of so many nerve roots, and because of its divisions, simply stating that one has sciatica is somewhat meaningless.
the Cause of Sciatica
What must be determined is if the pain down the back of your leg is being caused by:
A Disc Bulge
An Epidural Lipoma
A Synovial Cyst
An Arthritic Disorder
A Combination of the Above
or, rarely, Cancer in the Spine
Further, we must figure out which nerves at what level (or levels) are affected before they become a part of the sciatic nerve. In addition, the sciatic nerve can become compressed or trapped anywhere along its path. For example, the piriformis muscle can often compress the sciatic nerve as it passes underneath it. In some people, the nerve actually pierces the piriformis, leading to what is often diagnosed as “Piriformis Syndrome.” The piriformis can become hypertonic (tight or spasmed) by hip problems—such as arthritis, and cause abnormal firing of the sensory and motor branches of the sciatic nerve.
The major hip flexor muscle of our body, the psoas, attaches to every vertebrae & disc in the lumbar spine and connects to the hip. Therefore, anything that can affect the psoas muscle can contribute to hip and or low back pain — and ultimately “sciatica” — because hip motion and lumbar spine (low back) motion are so intimately linked. It’s important to know the cause of your sciatic pain before attempting stretches for sciatic nerve relief, as you may cause yourself more pain and problems.
The diagnosis of “sciatica” can only be determined by a proper neurological examination, and possibly more advanced diagnostic studies such as a weight bearing MRI, NCV, or EMG testing and comparing that to other diagnostic studies. Irritation or compression to the sciatic nerve can cause pain not only in the back of the leg, but interestingly patients often state that they have no lower back pain, yet have pain or numbness and tingling in their calves, or sometimes in the heel or outside of their foot, or the bottom of their feet.
If you’re having sciatic pain, it’s time for you to get an accurate diagnosis for your sciatic pain.
As a leader of non-surgical spinal decompression technology for the treatment of sciatic related conditions, we’ve successfully treated and diagnosed thousands of sciatic pain sufferers and helped them achieve lasting relief from the pain of sciatica.
Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression allows us to reduce the compressive force on the disc, allowing us to reduce the disc herniation size and restore normal function to the disc. This can then remove the pressure on pinched nerves causing sciatica, reducing and eliminating the pain caused by it. In addition, we do functional neurological orthopedic rehabilitation to improve strength and mobility to your spine hips and neck to reduce the likelihood of re-injury. Non- invasive, non-surgical decompression should always be tried before surgery after a proper neurological examination has been performed to determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure. There will likely be many other specialized services performed and or taught to you to help you recover your lost function as a result of sciatica.