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  • Writer's pictureDr Jeff Garofalo

Causes of Sciatica

The Causes of Sciatica

Dr. Dale and I hear it all the time……Man my sciatica is killing me!

In this week's article, I am going to go over what sciatica is and isn't and how to fix it.

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body made up of several nerves that come out most commonly between the L4-S3 (just above your belt line and in the middle of your rear-end) areas of your spine and run down the back of the leg and to the front part of the shin and top part of toes.

Causes of Sciatica

Piriformis Syndrome: This is when a muscle called the piriformis muscle which sits in the middle of your rear-end tightens and compresses the sciatic nerve that runs down the back of your leg. Symptoms will usually be pain that increases when you sit in your butt and down the back of your leg to your knee, your calf, or even the bottom of your foot. This type of problem is identified by the pain while sitting and relieved when you get up and walk around. There is usually no lower back pain, but you can have hip pain where the spine meets the hip. When this muscle is tight it will pull your hip out of alignment constantly. The solution is to massage the piriformis and your other leg muscles that run from your rear-end to the foot until they all relax which can take about 2 weeks. It is important to get your hips adjusted while the muscles are relaxing to keep the hips from rotating.

Sacro-ileitis: The sacroiliac joint is the spot where the hips meet the spine. That joint has a lot of nerve endings and when it is out of alignment the pain can feel like sciatica. The pain can be felt in the hip area, the back of the leg, and sometimes to the foot. The pain is usually shooting and sharp especially when you go from sitting to standing and usually felt when you are standing still for a while. The pain will also be felt right where the sacroiliac joint is located. The fix for this is chiropractic adjustments to put the joint in alignment and a special belt called a sacroiliac belt which is worn low around the waist. The belt is worn 24 hours a day for about 2 weeks and then the weak ligaments in the joint are usually fixed. The cause of sacroiliitis is weakened ligaments in the joint usually a ligament sprain.

Subluxation: Subluxation or a misaligned vertebrae from the 4th Lumbar to the 1st sacral area. When the spinal bones shift out of alignment they create inflammation and pinch the nerves located in that area and cause pain down the leg. The pain will usually be constant and increase especially when moving and relieved when laying down and resting.

This problem is seen on x-ray and is usually fixed with several adjustments.

Disc Injury: Disc bulges, herniations, or decaying discs can cause sciatica at the

L4-L5 and L5-S1 level of the spine. The pain will usually be sharp, shooting, tingly, or numb. The pain will usually be constant when sitting and standing and usually relieved when you lay down. The way to identify the level of damage is through an MRI.

We use IDD Therapy to help fix damaged discs with a 92% success rate.

For more information about how the Midwest Disc Clinic helps each one of these conditions email me at or call us at 260-768-4712

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