Sciatica begins when the sciatica nerve is irritated or compressed at its root at the base of the spine, causing severe shooting pains which will run down the back and outside the leg from the thigh to the foot. It can be caused by a slipped disc, ankylosing spondylitis or osteoarthritis. Sciatica can come on suddenly, after something as simple as a twisting movement of the body, and it is worse on bending, movement, sneezing or coughing.
Sometimes pain arises due to compression of the nerve body away from the root. This usually occurs in the buttock area, and is caused by inflammation of the piriformis muscle. This is referred to as piriformis syndrome.
Chinese Medicine sees the cause of this condition as Damp-Heat stagnation in the gallbladder meridian or in the urinary bladder meridian. If the sciatica condition is chronic, then according to Chinese Medicine theory, Cold and Blood stagnation are the cause. This is sometimes referred to Painful obstruction syndrome in Chinese medicine theory.
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