Sciatica causes intense pain in the lower back that can shoot up and down. It can leave you fearful and wary of attempting your favorite activities, let alone your daily tasks.

There are several potential causes of sciatica, and it generally comes from a few particular roots, namely the L4, L5, or S1. Nerves can become compressed or irritated when discs, bones, or ligaments are rubbing against them.

Inflammation in the area can also lead to pain in the surrounding tissue and nerves.

A herniated disc is the most common cause of sciatica. It generally happens in the lower part of the spine and is often referred to as a “slipped disc,” even though no slippage has actually happened.

Your spinal discs are tucked between vertebrae, where they act as cushions to keep bones from touching. These discs absorb all the pressure in the spine from walking, running, sitting, twisting, lifting, and virtually every other activity.

Herniated discs generally happen when the jelly-like filling in spinal discs breaks through the outer shell and pushes through the tear. It may put pressure on nerves that lead to pain.

Spinal stenosis is another common cause of sciatica.

Your spinal cord and the nerves that run along it are protected by something called the spinal canal. When the spinal canal shrinks and puts pressure on the nerves and spinal cord, it is called spinal stenosis.

Spinal stenosis is generally caused by disc degeneration, osteoarthritis, or thickened ligaments.

These are two of the most common causes of sciatica, but they are not the only ones. At-home treatments involve things like heat, cold, and stretching routines. Some use acupuncture or chiropractors to treat pain.

There are many medical options, as well, that should be discussed with your doctor.

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