The sciatic nerve travels from the low part of the back along the leg to the toes through the buttocks. It is the longest nerve in the human body. This nerve is made up of five nerve roots, two of them exiting from the lower part of the spine and three of them exiting from the sacrum.
Sciatica is used to describe any pain or discomfort that affects one or both legs. The pain associated with sciatica can vary from one person to the other. It can be mild to moderate and in severe cases of sciatica it can also lead to walking problems, difficulties sitting, and bending over.
There are two types of sciatica: neurogenic sciatica or referred sciatica. Risk factors include poor body posture, leading a sedentary life, suffering from diabetes, spending too many hours in a sitting position, and lifting heavy things. Besides a sharp or shooting pain that is felt in the affected leg and rarely on both legs at the same time, foot numbness, inability to walk, and other symptoms can develop. Continue reading about the 10 most common causes of sciatica.
Cause #1: Disc Herniation
Disc herniation is the most common cause of sciatica. It can affect anyone at any age. Normally, the intervertebral discs are constructed by cartilage (end plate), collagen fibers (annulus fibrosus) located on the outer side, and a softer part inside, which is otherwise known as nucleus pulposus.
In cases of a disc herniation, the soft part of the intervertebral disc will shift and protrude towards the edge of the disc. This can cause considerable damage and pain. Poor posture, a car accident, spine trauma, and a sudden increase in pressure through the disc can lead to disc herniation and sciatica.