Causes of Sciatica
       "Sciatica" is a non-specific term that describes pain (and/or numbness or tingling sensations) that travel from the buttocks down the back (or side) of the leg. Sciatica symptoms can have various causes. Typically, this type of pain is generally associated with the compression of the sciatic nerve by a damaged or prolapsed spinal disc. This situation is very serious and produces a pain that is nearly constant and unbearable. Surgery is the only viable option in this situation.
        Radiating pain or numbness that "comes and goes" with your activities and body position, suggests that a muscular source is the cause, and not a disc herniation. Trigger points in the buttock and hip regions can easily produce sciatica symptoms. Typically, trigger point produced sciatica symptoms occur secondarily to a previous (or concurrent) low back or hip pain disorder.

The Muscles and Trigger Points that Cause Sciatica
      Trigger points in the following two muscle groups can produce sciatica symptoms:
  • The Gluteus Minimus
  • The Piriforrmis
      The Gluteus Minimus is a small, fan-shaped muscle group that lies deep in the buttock region, just above and behind the hip joint. It attaches to the pelvic bone and runs downward to attach to the thigh bone (the femur) near the hip joint. Like the larger Gluteus Medius muscle group that lies over it, the Gluteus Minimus functions to stabilize the pelvis during walking and other upright activities.
      Gluteus Minimus trigger points can refer pain to the hip joint, buttocks, down the back of the leg to the calf, and down the outside of the leg to the ankle. These trigger points can be activated by trigger points in the
Quadratus Lumborum muscle group, by long periods of immobilization, or by the abnormal body mechanics that are created when a person must limp for any reason. Additionally, men may activate these trigger points by sitting on a large wallet that is kept in the back pocket.
      The trigger points in this muscle can be divided into two groups. The posterior trigger points, typically three or four in number, refer pain to buttocks, back of the thigh, and calf regions. The lateral trigger points lie directly above the hip joint and refer pain to the outside buttock, hip joint, outside thigh, and lower leg regions.
      The Piriformis muscle is a short, small muscle that is located deep in the buttock region. It functions to rotate the thigh, and helps to stabilize the hip joint during walking. This muscle lies next to a major nerve (the Sciatic Nerve) and blood vessels. Trigger points in this muscle can cause it to become tense enough for it to entrap or compress the nerve and blood vessel, producing systems such as pain, numbness, and swelling that travel down the leg from the gluteal region. When this entrapment occurs, it is termed Piriformis Syndrome. Clinical studies suggest that sciatica symptoms are cuased by Piriformis syndrome more often than they are caused by a spinal disc rupture or prolapse.
      Additionally, the Piriformis trigger points may refer pain to the Sacro-Iliac Joint, buttock, and hip joint regions. This referred pain may occur with the other symptoms created by entrapment of the sciatic nerve.
Important: The following content is provided for information purposes only. A proper diagnosis of any condition requires a physical examination by a licensed doctor.