Sciatica Series

Part 1 - What Causes Sciatica? The Five Most Common Causes


sciatica_sct1_FB.jpgThis is Part One in a ten part series on Sciatica. In this series, we are going to talk about what causes Sciatica, what Sciatica is exactly, what the most common symptoms are, things you can do at home to treat Sciatica, how we treat Sciatica, and we will discuss some scientific studies about our treatment.

It's always important for any type of back pain to understand the source of the pain. But it is even more important to understand for Sciatica, because the source of the pain is not always in the same area.


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There are 5 causes of Sciatica that we are going to discuss. These are all related to the spine so it is very important that we first know what the spine is and how it works. It requires a little understanding but it is not complicated in the least, and it is important that we do understand it because when you understand the spine you will be better prepared to treat it.

This is because we don't just treat the pain, but the cause of the pain. And in our experience with treating Sciatica, the outcome of the treatments turn out better when the patient understands the cause of the problems.

So, here are some basic facts about the spine:

  • The main purpose of the spine is to protect your Spinal Cord
  • The spine is made up of 24 bones called Vertebrae
  • There are Discs in between each vertebra, which do 2 things: allow for each vertebra to move in six directions, and act like shock absorbers
  • Between each vertebra, there is a nerve that exits the spine off of the spinal cord. But we are only going to focus on the nerves of the Lumbar Spine, or Lower Back
  • The Sciatic Nerve is formed of nerves that exit your spine from your lower back

Now that we have covered some basic information about the spine, let's discuss the five causes of Sciatica:

  • herniated_disc2-resized-600The number one, and most common, cause of Sciatica is the dreaded Herniated Disc in your lower back.

Try to imagine the discs in between your vertebra as a jelly donut; there is an outer portion made of a thick material, and an inner portion that contains a kind of jelly. This is similar to what the discs in your back are like. And sometimes, the jelly (called the Nucleus) can rip through the outer portion of the disc and push on the nerves of the spine.

This will very often cause Sciatic pain, such as pain that travels down the leg. As we said earlier, if you just treat the leg pain, the disc will not get better. You have to treat the Herniated Disc itself to relieve the problem for good.

  • sciatica_spine-resized-600-1The second cause of Sciatica is the Bulging Disc, which is basically just a smaller version of the Herniated Disc.

We already talked about how a disc becomes herniated when the jelly (nucleus) of the disc pushes out of the vertebra and puts pressure on the nerve. But, sometimes the jelly pushes on the thick outer portion of the disc without tearing it and leaking out. This is considered a Bulging Disc and not a Herniated Disc, since the nucleus is not actually coming out of the disc. And similarly to a Herniated Disc, this bulge pushes against the nerve and causes Sciatic pain.


At the Illinois Back Institute we strive to educate everyone as much as possible about their back pain and sciatica, because it is proven that the more people know about their problem the more likely they are to eliminate it!

Our 9 Step Solution specializes in treating the causes of back pain and sciatica, such as herniated discs. Are you ready to put an end to your pain? Schedule a Free Consultation by calling us at 866-615-4765 or click here!


Remember, this is just Part One of a Ten part series!

Part Two will continue the discussion on the most common causes of Sciatica. Our clinical experience is that the more you understand your problem, the more likely you are to eliminate it.

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