Sciatica versus Spinal Stenosis


If you have mild to severe sharp pain that runs from the low back to the foot or anywhere in between, you may have pain due to the impingement of the sciatic nerve. This condition is called Sciatica. You may also have a condition called Spinal Stenosis. It is important to remark here that while the pain of both present in a similar fashion the treatment for each is very different.
Sciatic pain is a symptom of such underling issues such as herniated/bulging disks or disk degeneration. Sciatica may also be cause by impingement of muscle tissue such as the Piriformis and the lesser identified Quadratus Femoris. A herniated or bulging disk can be brought on by sudden injury or repetitive injury (repeating the same task over a long period of time). Degenerative disk disease has many contributing factors including:
• Genetics
• Disease / Illness
• Trauma
• Repetitive injury
• Poor posture
• Obesity
• Use of tobacco
Sciatic pain is actually very treatable and in some cases preventable.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis is caused by a narrowing of the spinals canal (the opening in which the spinal cord is housed). The most common contributing factors are
• Aging
• Disk disorders
• Genetics
Disk disorders also can be marked by bone spurs. Bone spurs are the body’s way of shoring up weak structures. If you have a degenerated disk the body responds by first laying down collagen fibers over vertebrae and ligaments of vertebrae to thicken and strengthen them. Slowly, the nerves become compressed and the collagen calcifies resulting in new bone growth. The newly formed bone tissue can then impinge further the nerve root exacerbating the situation and increasing pain. That is why it is imperative not to let sciatic pain go for too long.
While we can’t always prevent sudden injury or genetic dispositions, we can prevent injury due to weak core and spine by lengthening and strengthening muscles regularly. Holistic activities like Yoga, Tai Chi, and Therapeutic Massage help to stretch and loosen muscles and fascia. Activities such as weight lifting and Pilates, help strengthen and maintain muscle tonality.

For your consideration:

Sciatica pain vs, Spinal stenosis

McKenzie Approach for sciatica and low back pain