Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Sciatica is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. Usually, there is no specific injury that is related to the onset of sciatica. Occasionally, the pain will suddenly begin after lifting something heavy or moving quickly.
The following are causes of sciatica:
A herniated disc (sometimes called a slipped disc): This is the most common cause of sciatica.
Discs are the cushions between the bones in the
back. They act like "shock absorbers" when we move, bend, and lift. They are the size and shape of checkers.
There is a tough ring around the outside and a
thick jellylike center inside (called a nucleus pulposus). If the outer edge
of the disc ruptures, the center can push through and put pressure on the
sciatic nerve, leading to the pain of sciatica (referred to as a herniated
nucleus pulposus as the syndrome).
Picture of a herniated lumbar disc, a common cause of sciatica
Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the canal that contains the spinal cord: As we
age, the bone can overgrow and put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Many people
with spinal stenosis have sciatica on both sides of the back.
Spondylolisthesis, a condition in which one backbone
has slipped forward over another backbone, resulting in pressure on the sciatic