Sciatica refers to symptoms resulting from the compression of the sciatic nerve, which can be caused by a wide range of factors. This long, wide nerve originates in the lower spine and travels all the way down the hips, buttocks, legs and feet. The shooting pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness that occurs from sciatica can be debilitating, having a severe effect on normal activities.
Along with causes like age and weight, injury from participating in sports is a significant contributor to the development of sciatica. Whether you are dealing with sciatica symptoms, or are trying to prevent an onset, learning more about the underlying causes can be an important part of living the active lifestyle you deserve.
Typical sciatica risk factors
Sciatica is often associated with sedentary lifestyles because sitting for long periods of time can lead to compression of the sciatic nerve. While the assumption is that being seated relieves pressure on the lower back, in reality sitting actually places more stress on the lower back than standing up. In fact, office workers and truck drivers are at higher risks for sciatica due to the large amount of time they spend sitting down. However, being an active participant in high-impact sports and activities can also lead to degenerative spine conditions like sciatica.
Sports injuries and sciatica
The trauma inflicted by impacts can lead to compression of the sciatic nerve. When the nerve has pressure placed on it, it can cause local pain as well as weakness, numbness or tingling down the length of the nerve. That means that when golfers, football players, wrestlers and other athletes sustain hits to the lower back, they may develop sciatica as a result. In some cases, the participants develop bulging or herniated discs after traumatic impacts, or after years of twisting the spine or lifting heavy weights. When spinal discs are damaged and out of place, they are more likely to compress on nerve roots, including the body’s longest nerve — the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica treatment options
If you are experiencing sciatica — whether it was caused by a sports injury or not — and conservative treatment options have not improved your symptoms, surgery may become an option. Traditional open spine surgery is usually seen as a last resort due to the large incision, hospitalization and long recovery period involved. USA Spine Care offers a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine procedures, offering our patients less risk of infection and a shorter recovery period in comparison.
For a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures, reach out to our dedicated team today.