Sciatica - A frequent problem, an uncommon cause
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in our bodies. It’s responsible for controlling muscles in the back of the knee and lower leg.￼
There are two sciatic nerves, one for the left leg and one for the right.
Sciatica is a condition characterized by pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling due to a problem of compression on the sciatic nerve.
Causes may include a ruptured disc in the spine, a narrowing of the spinal canal, an injury to the pelvis, or possibly￼ an entrapment of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle.
Although problems with the piriformis muscle can be rare, it is a form of non-discogenic sciatica… Meaning the problem does not originate in the spine.
Wether piriformis syndrome is an actual cause for sciatic pain remains controversial.
Researchers at Brown University School of Medicine have identified the piriformis as a muscle that compresses the sciatic nerve.
It is associated with increased pain when this muscle is contracted, palpated, or from prolonged sitting.