What Causes Sciatica Pain: Symptoms and Treatments Explained

by | Jun 28, 2023 | Health Talk Blog, Sciatica

So, you’ve been feeling some tingling or burning sensation in your leg or hip area. Maybe a sharp pain running from your buttocks and down along the back of your leg. Someone suggested it might be sciatica pain.

Your next question might be, “What causes sciatica pain?” This is a common question asked by almost everyone when they experience discomfort in their lower back and legs. 

This blog post will explore the potential causes of sciatica pain, associated risk factors, and how healthcare professionals diagnose this condition. 

We will focus on the primary causes of sciatica pain, risk factors that may increase your chances of developing sciatica, and how healthcare professionals diagnose this condition. 

Additionally, we’ll provide a brief overview of effective treatments for managing and alleviating nerve pain associated with sciatica. See this post where we cover neuropathy, in-depth

By gaining insight into what causes sciatica pain and its related issues, you’ll be better equipped to take control of your health journey towards reduced discomfort and improved quality of life.

Causes of Sciatica Pain

There are two nerve bundles that branch off from the spinal cord. They each run through your hip, buttocks, then down each leg to the knee. When irritated or inflamed, it causes chronic pain-sometimes extreme.

There are a number of conditions that can cause sciatica pain. This results in various sciatica symptoms like hip pain, leg pain, lower back pain, and even muscle weakness. Here are the main culprits:

  • Lumbar disc herniation: A bulging or ruptured disc in your lower spine can compress the sciatic nerve, leading to severe pain.
  • Piriformis syndrome: The piriformis muscle in your buttock region may become tight or spasm, irritating the nearby sciatic nerve. Think of it as a pinched nerve.
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal canal in your lower back due to age-related changes puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. 
  • Spondylolisthesis: When a vertebra (the bones in your spine) slips out of alignment, it causes a misalignment that can pinch the spinal nerve, causing lower back pain.
  • Lumbar radiculopathy: An inflammation of a nerve root in the lower back that can cause sciatic pain.

It might not be sciatica, or a subluxation causing your unnecessary discomfort. Here is some additional information on the causes of sciatica.

Don’t suffer in silence, consult with a healthcare professional like our team at Matthews Family Chiropractic, who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting nerves and musculoskeletal structures.

For the pain relief you deserve, give us a call today! 704-845-0699

Risk Factors for Sciatica Pain

Age, occupation, lifestyle habits, and underlying medical conditions can all increase the likelihood of developing sciatica pain.


As we age, our spine wears down, leading to sciatic nerve compression or irritation.


Jobs that involve heavy lifting, prolonged sitting, or twisting motions can put added stress on the lower back and contribute to sciatic nerve issues.

Lifestyle Habits

  • Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity weakens muscles supporting the spine and increases pressure on the lower back region.
  • Poor Posture: Slouching while sitting or standing puts additional strain on your lumbar area leading to potential problems with your sciatic nerve.
  • Oversized Wallets: Sitting on a thick wallet in your back pocket compresses one side of your buttocks causing misalignment and resulting in possible irritation of the nearby nerves including the sciatic nerve.

Underlying Medical Conditions for Sciatica

Health conditions such as diabetes can cause damage to peripheral nerves like the sciatic nerve, increasing susceptibility to inflammation-induced symptoms. Obesity also plays a role by putting extra pressure on the spine and nerves.

Don’t Know What’s Causing Your Sciatica Pain? 

At Matthews Family Chiropractic, we’ll get to the bottom of your sciatica pain with a thorough examination that involves:

  1. Physical Exam: Our chiropractor will assess your range of motion, muscle strength, and reflexes, and may ask you to perform some funky moves to pinpoint the source of your discomfort.
  2. Symptom Assessment: We’ll discuss your medical history and recent activities that could have contributed to your sciatic nerve irritation.
  3. Imaging Tests: If necessary, we may recommend imaging tests like X-rays or MRIs to identify underlying causes like herniated discs or spinal stenosis that might be compressing the sciatic nerve.

With this information, we’ll devise a plan tailored to your individual needs to help you manage what your sciatica pain feels like for the long term.

Sciatica Pain Can Be Managed

Sciatica pain can be managed with medications, physical therapy, chiropractic care, or surgery.

While there are many treatment options for sciatica pain, it takes a comprehensive assessment before any treatments can be recommended.

Matthews Family Chiropractic offers personalized sciatica treatment plans that help to reduce inflammation and improve spinal alignment through adjustments and other therapies.

Short-term Self-Help to relieve sciatic pain?

To relieve sciatic nerve pain, try alternating ice and heat packs, gentle stretching exercises, maintaining proper posture, and avoiding prolonged periods of inactivity. 

Here are some stretches you can try out, with the best ones for sciatica described here.

But you will need professional medical care for long-term solutions, such as an experienced, local Matthews chiropractor.

Let’s Recap What Causes Sciatica Pain

Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment Options

Sciatica pain can be caused by a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease.

Risk factors for sciatica pain include age, obesity, and prolonged sitting or standing.

Proper diagnosis through imaging tests and physical examinations is crucial in determining the best course of treatment.

Treatment options for sciatica pain may include chiropractic care, physical therapy, and medication.

If you are experiencing symptoms of sciatica pain, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment options. 

Sciatica won’t go away on its own, so call us today: 704-845-0699

FAQs Often Asked About Sciatica Pain

What is the fastest way to cure sciatica?

There is no one-size-fits-all cure for sciatica, but a combination of treatments including medications, physical therapy, and chiropractic care can help manage symptoms. An experienced chiropractor can offer non-invasive treatments.

What sleeping position is best for sciatica? 

Slumbering on your side with a cushion tucked between the legs can help reduce stress on the lower back. If you prefer to sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees.

Does walking help sciatica? 

Yes, walking can help with sciatica. Strolling can be advantageous for sciatica distress, helping to increase circulation in the area and reinforcing muscles of the lower back and legs that provide support to the spine. Start slow and gradually increase the distance as tolerated.

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Meet the Chiropractors

Dr. Hanna has helped many people out of pain and on to a lifetime of vibrant wellness.

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