Aging Well | Bone & Joint
September 3, 2015

Low-back pain? You’re not alone … at all


Get the scoop on sciatica, one of the most common lower-back pains


The sciatic nerve is the widest and longest nerve in the human body, spanning from the lower back through the back of each leg and into the feet and toes. The word “sciatica” gets thrown around a lot when back pain pops up, so let’s clear up some myths about the term.

First things first: Sciatica is not a diagnosis for what is causing pain. It is a set of symptoms.

Sciatica means that the sciatic nerve is being compressed. This usually results in pain in the lower back, in one side of the buttocks, and/or the back of one leg. The most common low-back problems that cause sciatica include lumbar disc herniation, lumbar degenerative disc disease, isthmic spondylolisthesis and lumbar spinal stenosis. So, sciatica isn’t causing the pain – it is the pain.

The good news: There are a variety of options for treating sciatica pain. For some, surgery has the highest success rates of relieving pain, while others can help decrease pain through exercise. Without proper exercise, low-back muscles become weak, leaving them less able to support the back and spine. Ultimately though, if you or a loved one have pain that you believe is related to sciatica, visit your doctor. Because sciatica can be caused by numerous conditions, it’s important not to self-treat before consulting a physician.


Do you have pain possibly related to sciatica? The Vanderbilt Spine Center treats that, back pain, whiplash and other conditions of the spine. Schedule a consultation today.


Seniors, Physical Therapy, Joint Health

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