Causes of sciatica and prevention techniques

Sciatica causes patients to experience a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including pain, muscle weakness, numbness and tingling. This condition occurs when the sciatic nerve — the body’s largest nerve, which begins in the lower back and travels through the leg − becomes compressed or irritated, often by displaced anatomy in the lumbar (lower) spine. This typically occurs as a result of the natural aging process, after years of wear and tear have caused the spinal anatomy to deteriorate.

Sciatica can be an extremely debilitating condition, interfering with your family time, job and your ability to sleep comfortably. Treatment that can provide you with lasting relief is possible and a great first step is educating yourself as a patient about the causes, prevention methods and treatment options for this condition.

Underlying causes and prevention techniques for sciatica

Sciatica causes can include a number of degenerative spinal conditions, such as:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Herniated discs
  • Bone spurs

These spinal conditions commonly affect individuals who are 50 years of age or older. While the natural aging process is unavoidable, there are some things you can do to reduce their risk of developing degenerative spine conditions. Patients should avoid the following:

  • Using tobacco products
  • Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle
  • Having poor posture

All of these risk factors have a negative effect on the health of the spine and can significantly increase the likelihood of developing sciatica.


For many of the degenerative spine conditions that are the cause of a patient’s sciatica, the recommended treatment is usually the same. Working with a medical professional to develop a treatment plan consisting of conservative options such as over-the-counter medication, physical therapy and lifestyle changes can provide lasting relief in many cases. In the event that several weeks of conservative treatment prove ineffective and surgery becomes an option, you may want to consider the minimally invasive spine surgery performed at Laser Spine Institute. Our board-certified surgeons+ can access the spine with a less than 1-inch incision, helping our patients experience an outpatient procedure with less risk of complication than traditional open spine procedures.

Contact us to learn more and to receive a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.

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