One of the top underlying causes of sciatica — aging
One of the main causes of sciatica is aging and the spinal deterioration that can accompany it. If you are experiencing sciatica, a condition that affects the lower back, buttocks, legs and feet, you may be surprised to know that your symptoms might not be directly related to the area where you are feeling pain and discomfort.
Many cases actually begin in the spine, where a spinal abnormality of some sort is compressing the sciatic nerve, leading to symptoms that can manifest in other areas of the body that the nerve feeds. To learn more about this degenerative condition, its correlation to spondylolisthesis and the treatments available to ease your pain and discomfort, read the following article.
How the spine changes with age
As the body ages, the spine undergoes many changes. For example, many people past middle-age experience osteoarthritis of the spine, or the wearing away of the cartilage that reduces the friction between the vertebral joints. In response to the unprotected bones of the joints grinding against one another, the body can produce bone spurs, which are sharp bony protrusions that bulge into the spinal column. In the lower back, bone spurs may place pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing debilitating symptoms such as pain, numbness, weakness and tingling.
Spondylolisthesis and sciatica
Another issue that can cause sciatica is spondylolisthesis, which is the slippage of vertebrae. When the bones of the spine are out of place, it can affect the placement of other elements, like the spinal discs and the foramina (passageways) through which nerve roots run. Spondylolisthesis frequently occurs in the lower back, where shifting spinal elements can pinch the sciatic nerve. Although slippage isn’t entirely tied to aging, it does occur more frequently among people who are middle-aged and seniors.
Whether your sciatica is related to aging or another underlying cause, you’ll likely begin treating it with conservative treatments. These approaches help alleviate sciatica symptoms in most cases, but because they don’t treat the underlying problem, you may want to look into surgical options for long-term relief. For instance, Laser Spine Institute offers safer and effective alternatives to traditional open spine surgery^ that can address the compression of the sciatic nerve and relieve your pain and discomfort.
Through the use of a small incision that does not unnecessarily disrupt the muscles or ligaments surrounding the spine, our board-certified surgeons+ are able to take pressure off the nerve in order to relieve your sciatica symptoms. Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about our outpatient procedures.
We can review your MRI for free* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our minimally invasive sciatica procedures.