Low Back Pain with Sciatica Information

My Lower Back Hurts, Why?


Sciatica is a term for symptoms caused by compression of any of the spinal nerves in the lower back causing pain to radiate down the legs and even cause tingling or numbness in the toes and feet.

Spine disorders such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis are what can cause compression of the spinal nerves and result in low back and leg pain or sciatica

Causes of Low Back & Leg Pain (Sciatica)

  • Disc Herniation: Extrusion of the central disc material (nucleus) pushes through the outer part of the disc (annulus) causing compression of the nerves or spinal cord, causing pain.
  • Spinal Stenosis: A medical condition in which the spinal canal narrows and the bone compresses the spinal cord and nerves at the lumbar level vertebrae.
  • Spondylolisthesis: Or a “slipped vertebrae” as it is also called, refers to the anterior displacement of a vertebra or the vertebral column in relation to the vertebrae below it.

Warning Signs of Low Back & Leg Pain:

  • Back pain with leg pain
  • Weakness in the leg
  • Leg tingling or numbness

Who Gets Back Pain?

Anyone can get back pain, but some things that increase your risk are:

  • Smoking: Your body may not be able to get enough nutrients to the disks in your back if you smoke.
  • Getting Older: Back pain is more common the older you get.
  • Being Overweight: Too much weight can stress the back and cause pain.
  • Poor Physical Fitness: Back pain is more common in people who are not fit.
  • Your Job: If you have to lift, push or pull while twisting your spine, you may get back pain. If you work at a desk all day and do not sit up straight, you may also get back pain.

Prevention of Low Back & Leg Pain

The top three things you can do to prevent low back pain and sciatica are:

  1. Don’t Smoke
  2. Maintain a healthy weight
  3. Try to maintain good posture and get regular exercise

Treatments For Low Back & Leg Pain (Sciatica)

  • Rest
  • Physical Therapy
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Lumbar epidural injections
  • Acupuncture
  • Surgery

Most Common Surgical Treatments

Source: Mount Sinai Hospital