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Doctor insights on: What Are The Causes Of Sciatica Is It Always A Herniated Disc Problem

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What are the causes of sciatica? Is it always a herniated disc problem?

What are the causes of sciatica? Is it always a herniated disc problem?

No: Sciatica is really a misnomer. Most causes of leg pain are more appropriately called radiculopathy, because the compression occurs in the spinal canal and the sciatic nerve doesn't form until much lower in the body. Other causes "sciatic" pain include, spinal stenosis, tumors, pyriformis syndrome, pelvic pathology, neuropathy, and cervical spine pathology. ...Read more

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Dr. Thomas Dowling
846 doctors shared insights

Bulging Disk (Definition)

Wear and tear can cause degeneration in the vertebral column, and cause discs to deteriorate. The supportive basket, nucleus fibrosis develops small tears. A bulge is minimal perhaps a few millimeters, and is clinically insignificant, but additional disc displacement such as protrusion or herniation may compress ...Read more


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What is the best treatment for a bulging disk in one's back that is causing sciatia?

What is the best treatment for a bulging disk in one's back that is causing sciatia?

Depends: Depends on ones pain tolerance and whether serious neurological signs or symptoms are present. Anything from otc meds to narcotics to oral steroids to physical therapy to epidural steroid injection to discectomy or other more or less invasive surgery. ...Read more

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How concerning is a slip disc and what are the symptoms?

How concerning is a slip disc and what are the symptoms?

Not Dangerous: Hurts a lot, however if you have weakness or bowel/bladder incontinence than it can be an emergency that may need to be evaluated for surgery. This suggests that the disc is significant compressing nerves in the spinal canal reducing their function. Generally though, a majority of slipped discs or herniations are mostly painful and resolve over time and do not cause long term effects. ...Read more

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What is a good way to alleviate pain due to a bulging herniated disk that is causing sciatica nerve pain?

What is a good way to alleviate pain due to a bulging herniated disk that is causing sciatica nerve pain?

Sciatica: If the pain is severe start with a day or so of rest heating pads and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. As the pain starts improving you can gradually increase your activity level and start some gentle exercise and stretching. if the pain lasts more than one or two weeks or is accompanied with muscle weakness, bowel/bladde problems numbness or tingling you should see your doctor sooner ...Read more

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What is the difference between a herniated disc a disc protrusion and disc extrusion. And which is most serious if the three ?

What is the difference between a herniated disc a disc protrusion and disc extrusion. And which is most serious if the three ?

Big difference: Disc Protrusion is when the distance between the edges of the disc herniation is less than the distance between the edges of the base. Disc Extrusion is when the distance between the edges of the disc material is greater than the distance at the base. Disc herniation may vary in severity from case to case. ...Read more

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Is heat or ice better for low back pain? Especially if there is a lumbar disk herniated? What are the symptoms of having a lumbar disk herniated?

Is heat or ice better for low back pain? Especially if there is a lumbar disk herniated? What are the symptoms of having a lumbar disk herniated?

Both : Both can help but it may differ from pt to pt sometimes it helps to go back and forth between heat and cold / if you feel one is much more helpful for you then stick with that / use apiece of swim noodle behind the small of your back while sitting as a "lumbar roll" I have found this to help many people including me over the years hope you feel better. ...Read more

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What are the symptoms of a slipped disc and a herniated disc?

What are the symptoms of a slipped disc and a herniated disc?

Referred pain...: Radiating pain to a well defined area of a single extremity is typical for this problem, if it's in the cervical or lumbar spine. It could also cause weakness and numbness. If the disc herniation is central and large, it could affect both sides of the body. It will often feel like knee or shoulder pain, but there is no history of a knee or elbow injury. ...Read more

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Is there a type of surgery that can be done for bulging herniated disc and tore disc? Also could one of these be causing LOTS of SEVERE pain??

Is there a type of surgery that can be done for bulging herniated disc and tore disc? Also could one of these be causing LOTS of SEVERE pain??

Spine specialist: The two most common surgeries are decompression and discectomy. However, back surgery might be an option if conservative treatments failed and your pain is persistent, debilitating and disabling. Ask a spine specialist about potential complications and best combination of treatment options. ...Read more

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What's the difference in a herniated disk and a compression break? Why would it be painful?

What's the difference in a herniated disk and a compression break? Why would it be painful?

Disc vs. Vertebra: A herniated disc denotes the protrusion or extrusion of the softer, inner portion of the disc located between vertebrae. On the other hand, a compression fracture consists of a degree of collapse of the vertebra itself. Pain may come about by either irritation or compression of adjacent nerve(s). ...Read more

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Is siatica of the spine something that can be cured?

Is siatica of the spine something that can be cured?

Cure, Unlikely...: Sciatica can be managed effectively and can be relieved in a vast majority of people, but it will always require diligence on your part for nsaids, exercise, stretching and weight control/loss. For those still having issues it may require treatments (injections, surgery, etc) to maintain relief as well. ...Read more

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How is a DX of Piriformis Syndrone made? Is it merely Sciatic Nerve irratation that radiates to buttocks. What is the Treatment?

How is a DX of Piriformis Syndrone made? Is it merely Sciatic Nerve irratation that radiates to buttocks. What is the Treatment?

Exam: The primary diagnostic tool is a detailed exam. A nerve conduction test specifically looking for piriformis syndrome can confirm. An injection in the piriformis area is used and can be both therapeutic and diagnostic. Physical therapy can be helpful in many cases. ...Read more

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Hi.. Is straightening of lumber spine a very serious thing?? What are the possible treatments??

Hi.. Is straightening  of lumber spine a very serious thing?? What are the possible treatments??

Possible...: When straightening of the lumbar spine is described it is usually associated with muscle spasms which is not a major issue except for the discomfort and pain it can cause. A good posture and exercise are very important to prevent this problem unless you suffered an accident. If there other findings or any other concerns about this follow up with your doctor. ...Read more

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What is the best diagnostic method to see if there is herniated disc or it's about piriformis syndrome?

An MRI: A physical exam is first in the evaluation. Piriformis syndrome and sciatica often causes pain in the buttock and posterior thigh. Nerve irritation or compression from a herniated disc can cause similar symptoms but with pain and weakness extending below the knee and sometimes into the foot. Plain x-rays then an MRI if symptoms persist is the image of choice. ...Read more

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What are the symptoms of a meniscus displacement? Does it mean there is. A tear at the root? Is there a picture somewhere? Please help doctor

What are the symptoms of a meniscus displacement?  Does it mean there is. A tear at the root? Is there a  picture somewhere? Please help doctor

Let me explain: Patient has interment looking of the knee because of the displacement beside and swelling. The problem related to the attachment of the meniscus and the capsule of the joint. ...Read more

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What is Spondylolysis of L5-S1 and what are causes? Also, would muscle injury (I.E sprain/strain) to the Lumbar region cause Sciatica symptoms?

What is Spondylolysis of L5-S1 and what are causes? Also, would muscle injury (I.E sprain/strain) to the Lumbar region cause Sciatica symptoms?

Spondylosis: is a degenerative change in the spine where a disk changes in it's consistency, loses elasticity & height and leads to misalignment of inter-vertebral joints leading to arthritis. Disk herniation causes sciatica symptoms, not muscle strain. ...Read more

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Is it possible that a herniated dics at l2/l3 can be the primary cause of bilateral hamstring pain or can it be attributed to stenosis from l1-l4?

Is it possible that a herniated dics at l2/l3 can be the primary cause of bilateral hamstring pain or can it be attributed to stenosis from l1-l4?

Yes: Both a disc hernaition at l2-3 and lumbar stenosis from L1 to L4 can cause pain in the back of the thighs. A significant disc herniation may cause lumbar stenosis. ...Read more

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Is it possible that a herniated dics at l2/l3 can be the primary cause of bilateral hamstring pain or can it be attributed to stenosis from l1-l4?

IN PATIENTS WITH: Disc disease and or lumbar stenosis, what typically causes the hamstrings to hurt is the compensation that ocurrs over time in the way the patient walks. It typically leads to hamstring tendons shortening and discomfort. ...Read more

Dr. Qamar Khan
1,075 doctors shared insights

Sciatica (Definition)

A condition that results in pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg. It results from injury to or pressure on the sciatic nerve, which starts in the lower spine and runs down the ...Read more