What’s the Cause of Sciatica? 4 Possible Culprits

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a pain that originates along your sciatic nerve, which extends from the back of your pelvis down the back of your thigh. The usual cause of sciatica is a herniated disk in your spine that can put pressure on your sciatic nerve, but it isn’t the only cause.

The Cause of Sciatica

Causes of sciatica can vary, such as an overgrowth of bone, also known as a bone spur, on the spinal bones; more rarely, a tumor can put pressure on the nerve. Certain things can cause your risk factors for developing sciatica to increase such as:

  • Age
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Obesity
  • Occupation

While a herniated disk is the most common cause of sciatica, there are several spinal disorders that can also cause sciatic nerve compression.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis happens when the space inside the backbone is too small, which puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves that travel through the spine. When spinal stenosis develops, the nerves get compressed, and while some patients suffer no symptoms, others may experience sciatica pain as well as:

  • Vertebral fractures
  •  Dislocations
  • Bone spurs
  • Thickening of the ligaments that hold the spine together

Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome can occur when your piriformis muscle compresses your sciatic nerve. This in turn results in inflammation. It can happen on either side of the body causing pain or numbness in your buttock and down the back of your leg. Some symptoms include:

  • An ache in the buttock
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Pain down the back of the thigh
  • Pain when walking up stairs or inclines
  • Increased pain after sitting for long periods of time


Spondylolisthesis is a disorder that most often affects the lumbar spine, it’s a displacement of a vertebra in which the bone slides out of its proper position onto the bone below it. Most often, this displacement occurs following a break or fracture. This can cause compression and often results in sciatica symptoms.

Beyond being born with, or developing spondylolisthesis in childhood, it can be caused by:

  • Spinal degeneration
  • Physical traumas
  • Physical stressors from activities like weightlifting or gymnastics


Some physical traumas can directly cause sciatica such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, and contact sports like football. The impact may injure the nerves themselves or fragments of broken bone may compress the nerves. Other forms of trauma that can be a cause of sciatica include:

  • Pelvic fracture or hip dislocation
  • objects penetrating the body and cutting/tearing the nerve

Getting Treatment for Sciatica

Whatever the source, sciatica can be difficult to deal with when it flares up. If you’re suffering with sciatic nerve pain, I urge you to download my free 5 step guide to getting a great night sleep with sciatica. For those who may share similar symptoms to the ones listed above, it’s important to get an appointment with your doctor or be examined by a corrective chiropractor to find the root cause of your issues.

At Align Wellness Center, we have helped thousands of patients that have suffered with sciatica and are looking for treatment methods. Those patients are finally starting to see relief from sciatica and are feeling better overall for it. Sciatica can improve drastically through corrective chiropractic care.

If you or someone you know is having sciatica symptoms, especially ones that won’t go away, they need to be looked at by a corrective chiropractor and ensure the cervical spine is in alignment as well as other areas of the body. If you’re looking for a chiropractor that will take a natural and holistic approach to helping you with your issues with sciatica, give us a call, even if you’re out of our area, we can look to connect you with a chiropractor near you.

We offer an in-depth exam to determine exactly what we can do to help with as much detail for you as possible. It is called the 3-Dimensional BioStructural Analysis, and the process involves the following:  

  • Timeline history
  • Digital posture exam
  • 3-Dimensional posture exam
  • Chiropractic, Neurological, and Physical Exam
  • Spinal radiographs (if needed)
  • Digital biomechanical analysis of your spine
  • Insurance verification (by our insurance team)
  • Separate time to go over the results of your test within a day or two, where we will go over:
    • What is going on
    • If we can help
    • What the best next step is for you
    • Any investment in your health that is necessary

If you’re interested, you can schedule an appointment for a 3-Dimensional BioStructural Analysis here. If you’d like tips on how you can stay healthy and well without drugs and surgery, go ahead and check out other articles on this site. If you continue to struggle with sciatica pain give us a call at Align Wellness Center (847) 860-6599 or schedule an appointment online. Contact us today or stop by the office. We’re located at 900 Skokie Blvd., Suite 113, Northbrook, IL, 60062.

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