There are many conditions and structures that can be the pain generator in your low back, hips, and sciatica.
Your spine consists of 24 individual vertebrae stacked on top of each other. Flexible cushions called "discs" live between each set of vertebrae. A disc is made up of two basic components. The inner disc, called the "nucleus", is like a ball of jelly about the size of a marble. This jelly is held in place by the outer part of the disc called the "annulus", which is wrapped around the inner nucleus much like a ribbon wrapping around your finger. The term lumbar disc lesion means that your disc has been damaged.
If enough fibers become frayed, this can create a weakness and when the disc is compressed, the outer fibers may "bulge" or "protrude" like a weak spot on an innertube. If more fibers are damaged, the nucleus of the disc may "herniate" outward.
Since the spinal cord and nerve roots live directly behind the disc, bulges that are accompanied by inflammation will likely create lower back pain that radiates into the buttock or the entire lower extremity. This condition is called sciatica. If the disc bulge is significant enough to create a mechanical compression of your nerve, you may also experience loss of your reflexes and weakness.
Be sure to let our office know if you notice progressive weakness or numbness, any numbness around your groin, any loss of bowel or bladder control or fever.
Coughing and sneezing may cause an increase in pain. If you feel a cough or sneeze developing, keep your back straight, bend your knees and try to put your hands on a wall or tall counter for support.
Do not bend forward.
Joint restriction causes swelling and inflammation, which triggers muscular guarding leading to more restriction.
Since your spine functions as a unit, rather than as isolated pieces, a joint restriction in one area of your spine often causes "compensatory" problems in another. Think of this as a rowboat with multiple oarsmen on each side. When one rower quits, the others are placed under additional stress and can become overworked.
Joint restrictions most commonly cause local tenderness and discomfort. You may notice that your range of motion is limited. Movement may increase your discomfort. Pain from a restricted joint often trickles down to your hips or thighs.
Be sure to tell your chiropractor if your symptoms include any radiation of pain below your knee, weakness, groin numbness or changes in bowel or bladder function.
Most commonly, sprains and strains are not the result of any single event, but rather from repeated overloading.
The spine can generally manage small isolated stressors quite well, but repetitive challenges lead to injury in much the same way that constantly bending a piece of copper wire will cause it to break.
Examples of these stressors include: bad postures, sedentary lifestyles, poor fitting workstations, repetitive movements, improper lifting, or being overweight.
Your sacroiliac joint is the mechanical link on each side of your hip that connects your legs to the rest of your body. The joint has a limited but very important degree of mobility. Symptoms develop when one or both of the joints loses normal motion. When a joint becomes "restricted", a self-perpetuating cycle of discomfort follows. Restriction causes the muscles to become overworked, leading to tightness, compression, inflammation, pain and more restriction.
Sacroiliac problems can happen as a result of repetitive strenuous activity or trauma- like a fall onto the buttocks. Other causes of sacroiliac joint problems include, poor posture, having one leg slightly longer than another, having an altered gait, having flat feet or scoliosis, or having pain somewhere else in your legs. Pregnancy is a common trigger for sacroiliac joint problems due to weight gain, gait changes and postural stress.
The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back down to the leg on each side.
Symptoms can be felt in the back of the leg, buttock, hip, and sometimes your tows.
Sciatica can be caused by disc herniation, disc bulging, or sometimes tight piriformis muscle that puts direct pressure on the sciatic nerve.