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Sciatica FAQs in Bellevue, WA

What causes sciatica to flare up?

Sciatica can be caused by any number of issues that can pinch a sciatic nerve or nerve root. This includes bulging discs, spinal stenosis or injury to the spine. Often a patient may “overdo” a certain mildly strenuous activity, such as gardening or lifting boxes. Limiting activity, ice to the low back area, and taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agent will generally allow the symptoms to improve. If you continue to experience pain after a few days, call your doctor.

What causes sciatic pain during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, a bundle of nerves known as the lumbosacral plexus can be pressed between the fetus and pelvic bones. Additionally, spending a prolonged amount of time in the lithotomy position (having hips and knees flexed and supported by stirrups) can also cause sciatica.

Which vertebrae cause sciatica?

The origins of sciatic pain can begin as high as the L4 (lumbar) vertebrae and as low as S1 (sacrum) vertebrae. Each vertebra—including L5—has a corresponding nerve root that feeds to the sciatic nerve; depending on which root is affected, symptoms may vary slightly in where they radiate to.

Can stress and anxiety cause sciatica?

There is some research that suggests that when you experience anxiety, the brain denies the nerves in the lower back oxygen, resulting in sciatic symptoms. In addition to this, cortisol (a hormone produced when you’re stressed) may make sciatica worse and/or cause it to last longer.

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