What is Sciatica?

Nervous System

The nervous system is a vast array of neurons and nerves. It is responsible for all voluntary and involuntary actions that occur within and about our bodies. Involuntary actions including our breathing, heart beating, digestion and other mechanisms throughout our body, are all performed based on the signals within our nervous system. The nervous system is also responsible for voluntary actions such as walking, nodding, and speaking.

The nervous system is comprised of two subsystems: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous systems consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system contains the nerves throughout our body. Nerves are used both to send signals to the brain, and for the brain to send signals to body parts. For example, if you experience a laceration in your finger, a signal informing your brain of the injury is sent along the nerves. Many times, your brain will interpret these signals as pain in order to avoid further irritation to the injured area.

Sciatic Nerve

The sciatic nerve is the largest of the nerves within the body. It begins in the lower back region, then extends downward along the back of the leg, all the way through the toes. At its largest point, the sciatic nerve can be the circumference of a man’s thumb. Various conditions can cause the nerve to get pinched, or remain under pressure along the lumbar portion of the spine. The irritated nerve may then send pain signals throughout the leg, even if the pinched portion is in the lower back. This pain is known as sciatica. Sciatica is often described as sharp, shooting pain throughout the leg, as opposed to a more achy soreness people may experience from other issues.

Sciatica can be caused from multiple different conditions. A common condition that causes sciatica is known as a herniated disc.The spine consists of vertebrae stacked upon each other with small discs in between each vertebra. The discs consist of a jelly like substance within a tough exterior casing. A herniated disc occurs when the exterior casing cracks, causing the disc to push through the crack and induce pressure on various nerves. In some instances, the disc applies pressure to the sciatic nerve, which can cause an individual to experience sciatica.


Physical Therapists have long been treating lower back issues among patients such as the physical therapy Rockville, MD locals turn to. Physical Therapists have been reported to treat herniated discs through spinal manipulation; where, the Therapist makes adjustments along the patient’s spine in order to reduce pressure on the nerves.

It is not uncommon for victims of a car accident to experience a herniated disc as a result of the collision. If you have experienced a herniated disc due to another driver’s negligence, contact a personal injury lawyer who specializes in automobile accidents. The lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement and arrange for your chiropractic expenses to be covered.  


Thanks to authors at Pain and Arthritis Center for their insight into Chiropractic Care.