Sciatica syndrome - When back pain radiates into the leg

"I've got it back with the sciatica" - when Aunt Käthe used to complain in the winter as usual, her crooked posture was imitated behind her back. Decades later, this childhood memory reappears, while hauling boxes hauls a sudden pain in the leg. "Sciatica" is first of all a short form for the sciatic nerve, the longest and thickest nerve in humans. It arises from bilateral plexus lumbosacralis, a network of nerves formed by many spinal nerves at the level of the sacrum. The sciatic nerve pulls on the buttocks and the back of the thigh - whose flexor he supplies - along the popliteal fossa, where it divides into the tibial and calf nerves and thus supplies the muscles and skin of the lower leg and foot. Not infrequently, there are disorders in the course of the sciatic nerve, which can lead to typical pain and failures. This is referred to as ischia syndrome, also commonly abbreviated as "sciatica".

How does an ischial syndrome develop?

By far the most common cause are disorders of the lower lumbar spine. The bony processes on the vertebral bodies connect the adjacent vertebrae with each other. In between are recesses through which the spinal nerves emerge; These parts are also called nerve roots.

If it comes to signs of wear of the discs (as in a herniated disc) and / or the vertebral body, these intervertebral holes can narrow so that the nerve roots are squeezed there. Due to the anatomical conditions, the area at the transition from the lumbar spine to the sacrum is particularly often affected, ie where the nerve root of the sciatic nerve is located. If there is a restriction, abrupt movements, turns, or lifting a heavy load can cause a complaint.

Other triggers for the nerve irritation are cool drafts, especially after soaking (eg when you are sitting on a cold stone with a wet swimming trunks) or the pressure on the nerve fibers by a tumor in the pelvis or by the unborn baby during pregnancy. Rarer causes are nerve inflammation, for example due to infections such as shingles, damage in the context of chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus and rheumatism or bone injuries of the hip.

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