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Sciatica can Literally be a Pain in the .

By: Dr. Donna A. Pontoriero, Chiropractor

Sciatica can be a pain in the butt, literally. It is characterized as radiating pain extending from the low back into the buttocks, thigh (most times in the back of the thighs), lower legs and foot. In most instances this happens on one side, but can occur on both.

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body as well as being very long. It consists of several nerves in the low back that join together and form one big rope-like nerve on both sides of the body. Because of its enormous size it can be exposed to many different injuries to the low back, pelvis and anywhere along its course down the legs.

Sciatic pain may be caused by a bulging (herniated, "slipped") disc. The discs separate the vertebrae and act as shock absorbers. If a bulging occurs, this can put pressure on a spinal nerve root of the sciatic nerve, causing nerve irritation and the symptoms previously mentioned.

Boney arthritis is another cause of sciatica. The body produces arthritis as a defense mechanism if an area in the body is not structurally sound. The body will then begin to lay down bone in order to immobilize the area. At times this process produces boney spurs which can irritate the sciatic nerve.

Sciatica can also arise if a muscle goes into a spasm. This is when muscles will contract abnormally and put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Because the sciatic nerve is so extensive, this can happen anywhere along the nerve, from the spine down into the legs.

The most common cause of sciatica is a subluxation (misalignment of a vertebrae) causing spinal nerve irritation. If the vertebrae is out of position, this will cause improper structural stability which may lead to arthritis, abnormal pressure on discs resulting in bulging, or muscle spasm due to nerve irritation. Subluxations weaken the body's ability to deal with the physical, mental, and chemical stresses the body is subjected to on a daily basis.

A chiropractor is trained to locate the cause of sciatica. By eliminating all spinal subluxations, and instructing proper exercise, nutrition and posture control, the Doctor of Chiropractic will start you on the path to natural healing and total well being. Take the first step by having your spine checked by a Doctor of Chiropractic today.

Dr. Donna Pontoriero can be reached at 299 Franklin Ave, Nutley, 973-235-9393.