Dr. Jeffrey I. Kennis,  D.C.
205 Commercial St.
Boston, MA 02109
NORTH END

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Sciatica affects millions of Americans, and it can range from a minor nuisance to a debilitating problem. Despite its pervasiveness, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the topic. Here are ten quick facts to help get you up to speed.

Learn more: What You Need to Know About Sciatica

Sciatica Facts

  1. Sciatica describes a set of symptoms. Sciatica is a symptom of an underlying medical condition. The term describes the pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness that starts in the lower back and moves to the large sciatic nerve located in either leg.

    See Sciatic Nerve and Sciatica
     
  2. Common underlying conditions differ based on age. For adults under 60, the most common causes of sciatica are a lumbar herniated discdegenerative disc disease, and isthmic spondylolisthesis. For adults over 60, degenerative changes in the spine like lumbar spinal stenosis and degenerative spondylolisthesis are the typical culprits.

    Pregnancy, scar tissue, muscle strains, and bone fractures can also give rise to sciatica-like symptoms.

    See Sciatica Causes

  3. Location matters. Five nerve roots from your lower back join together to form the large sciatic nerve. Symptoms are typically dictated by which of these 5 nerve roots is pinched or irritated. For example, numbness in the feet is common when the nerve root near the L5 vertebra is pinched

    See Sciatic Nerve Anatomy
     
  4. You may experience multiple symptoms. Several nerve roots can be pinched at the same time, so you might have a mixture of symptoms; for example, you may feel pain or tingling on the outer part of your foot and simultaneously find it hard to straighten your leg.

    See Sciatica Symptoms
     
  5. Your underlying condition helps determine the treatment plan. One common treatment for sciatica is exercise. However, the specific exercises should be based on your underlying condition. For example, some of the exercises for sciatica caused by lumbar spinal stenosis are the opposite for exercises for similar symptoms caused by a herniated disc.

    See 
    Sciatica Exercises for Sciatica Pain Relief
     

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