The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. It exits the base of the spinal cord and travels down the back of both legs. Pressure on the sciatic nerve can cause it to become inflamed, which results in the condition known as sciatica.
No two cases of sciatica are alike. One patient may feel a dull ache in the calf. Another may feel a knot in the muscles of one buttock. Sciatica may feel like a sharp, shooting pain down the back of one or both legs. It could manifest itself as a loss of strength in the leg and foot. It may also feel like burning, tingling or numbness. Patients may feel these pain symptoms after coughing, sneezing, laughing, stretching, or sitting for any length of time. Although the symptoms may be different for each person, the origins of sciatica are the same: subluxation.
Two Kinds of Subluxation Can Cause Sciatic nerve pain
A subluxation is a misalignment of the bones. Sciatica may begin with two different kinds of subluxation:
Vertebral Subluxation and Sciatica
This is a misalignment of the spinal bones or vertebrae. A vertebral subluxation may result in what is commonly known as a “pinched nerve.” Vertebrae in the lumbar region may impinge on the sciatic nerve directly, causing pain. Vertebral subluxations may also cause a spinal disc to become herniated (collapsed or bulging to one side), which applies pressure to the sciatic nerve. Another way that vertebral subluxations cause sciatica is by irritating the piriformis muscles, which are found in the lower buttocks. The muscles respond with a protective spasm known as piriformis syndrome.
Sacral Subluxation and Leg Pain
The sacrum sits at the bottom of the spine, wedged between 2 pelvic bones. It is stable in order to support the weight of the spine and torso. It is connected to the pelvis by sacroiliac joints, which interlock for additional strength. Even with all of this strength and solidity, the sacrum and its joints can be jolted out of alignment by a fall, a car collision, or even a misstep on an uneven surface. Sacral subluxations result in irritation and inflammation of the sciatic nerve, which is experienced as pain.