When a patient with scoliosis reports back or leg pain, doctors have to consider a pinched nerve from scoliosis and if sciatica scoliosis treatment will be necessary.
But the curves often aren’t the culprit. Many patients are actually suffering from a separate, unrelated condition that goes undetected while the curvature takes the blame. For example, take sciatica and scoliosis; it’s often difficult to discern whether they’re related when they appear together. Sciatica—leg pain that originates in the lower back and travels down the sciatic nerve in the back of the leg—afflicts millions of adults. As many as 40 percent will experience sciatica leg pain at some point during their lives. More than a million patients each year undergo MRI scans to determine its origin, and many will be told there’s no obvious cause for their pain. When a cause can be pinpointed, nine times out of 10 it’s attributed to a herniated disc that’s compressing a nerve.
But what does it mean when scoliosis and sciatica nerve pain appear together? Is sciatica just another scoliosis symptom, or did it originate from a different cause? Get recommendations for living to your fullest potential with scoliosis.
What is Sciatica?
The term “Sciatica” is commonly used to describe virtually any radiating leg pain that travels down the back of the leg, usually beyond the knee.
What Causes Sciatica Pain?
While there are many different causes of sciatic pain, disc bulges/herniations are the most common and most profound. Other less common and less severe causes include piriformis syndromes and even sitting on a wallet in your back pocket!
Symptoms of sciatic nerve damage are rarely long-term but still possible. These may include loss of sensory (feeling), numbness, loss of motor function (strength), loss of muscle control, and even loss of reflex.
The Relationship Between Scoliosis and Sciatica. Can scoliosis cause sciatica?
Scoliosis sciatic nerve pain can exist for a variety of reasons. While scoliosis can cause pain in the sciatic nerve, such cases are unusual. More commonly, patients develop sciatica-like leg pain due to their postural imbalance. Or, in rare instances, sciatica can even be the underlying cause of scoliosis.
Here are just a few of the ways scoliosis and sciatica pain can manifest together:
Pinched nerve. In some scoliosis patients, the tilting and rotation of the vertebrae can pinch a nerve root, resulting in sciatica. So, can scoliosis cause sciatic nerve pain? Yes. Many patients have found the ScoliSMART Activity Suit effective if this is the case.
Pseudo sciatica. As the scoliosis curves throw the spine out of balance, the patient often compensates by shifting more weight onto one leg—usually the right one. This can lead to chronic leg pain that mimics sciatica. This often brings up the age-old question, can sciatica cause scoliosis?
Arthritis. Patients who have had scoliosis for a long time tend to develop arthritis faster in the affected area of the spine. This can cause extraspinal sciatica-type pain, as well.
Can scoliosis cause a pinched nerve? Sometimes a herniated disc can prompt an asymmetric spasm of the spinal muscles, causing a postural deformity known as sciatic scoliosis. Usually, the spine returns to normal once the source of the pain has been treated.
Don’t know where to start? Take our FREE “ScoliQuiz.” (No x-ray required)
Treating Scoliosis and Sciatica Pain
When the cause of sciatica can’t be determined or addressed, pain management becomes the focus. A wide range of treatment options is available for scoliosis and sciatica nerve pain, including acupuncture, massage therapy, and exercise
For scoliosis patients who prefer a drug-free lifestyle, dietary supplements such as curcumin can provide natural, long-lasting pain relief comparable to over-the-counter medications such as Aleve. With the help of ScoliPAIN plus, powerful curcumin, and black pepper extract, patients have achieved a 40 percent reduction in pain.
When sciatica and scoliosis appear together, it can be challenging to diagnose accurately. Fortunately, both respond to many pain management therapies, regardless of their cause.