Finding the right cause for your back pain and sciatica allows you to find the right treatment, without relying on surgeries, medications, or injections.
Here we’ve put together a list of the 3 common causes of back pain and sciatica, how to tell if they apply to you, and what the root issues are.
Hopefully this guide is immensely helpful for you as you diagnose the cause of your back pain.
Cause #1: A Herniated Disc
Characterized by sharp pain in the lower back, directly above their tailbone. May also trail down into the buttocks or groin.
With a herniated disc, you will typically be able to take your finger and trace the very specific line of pain going down your leg.
Sciatica is a pain, numbness, and tingling in your legs, so when it is caused by a herniated disc, you will typically be able to trace the specific line of pain very easily.
From a technical perspective, this is caused by the back side of your vertebrae pinching the nerve that runs down the back of your leg.
This is normally seen in younger people, and can happen from a car crash or traumatic event, or from bending over repeatedly too frequently (for instance, if you were a drywaller).
Cause #2: Arthritis, Stenosis, and Degenerative Disc Disease
The reason that we discuss these 3 things at the same time is that they usually come from the same mechanism.
If you’re going to have more than 50 candles on your next birthday cake, have pain with standing or walking (which is relieved when you sit down), there is a 99% chance that you suffer from one or multiple of these.
It’s extremely common. So much so that 95% of people over the age of 50 show at least one of these 3 things on an X-Ray.
But just because it is common doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved.
What happens is, as you age, your discs between vertebrae will start to shrink (which is why most people get slightly shorter as they age). It’s very easy to tell someone that is suffering from these conditions, because they will be leaning forward on their shopping cart (in an attempt to increase the space in between vertebrae), or will commonly be heard saying that they need to sit down for a minute (because their pain goes away when sitting down).
Someone with Stenosis/DDD/Arthritis will feel a more general pain and tingling down the leg, will have the pain disappear when they sit down and will typically experience stiffness in the morning.
Cause #3: SI Joint and Pelvic Pain
This is actually the trickiest of all the causes, as this will often go undetected in MRIs, and is much harder to catch.
Think about a stack of blocks…
Well, what happens with a stack of blocks when the top block is out of alignment? Nothing really…
But when the BOTTOM block is out of line, the whole stack of blocks quickly falls over. This is what is happening here.
Many people get injections, surgeries and medication for the L4, L5 vertebrae, when the hidden cause is actually the SI Joint (which can be found inside the pelvic bone)
This problem is actually much more wide ranging. It can happen to a wide range of ages, but some key indicators are:
- Frequent pain or discomfort with sitting or driving
- Pain rolling over in bed
- Pain getting in and out of a car
- Extremely common in childbirth as well
- Pain that is very broad, and hard to pin to any one area…With pain often wrapping around the outside of the leg
The difficulty with SI Joint issues is that it often is seen in addition to Stenosis/Arthritis/DDD, but what we’ve found is that many times, if you solve the SI Joint issue first then move into the others the problem can actually be solved.
So that should help you figure out exactly what is causing your back pain and sciatica.
If you need more information, or have questions on your personal situation and the back pain that you’re experiencing, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
If you think you have one of the above and need help immediately, just email me and we will put you through to a free screen with one of our back pain specialists… I’ll make sure they give you a definitive answer on what is going on, and let you know how you can get back to normal.