The Connection Between Herniated Discs and Sciatica

Sciatica is one of the leading causes of lower back pain, but the problem often extends far beyond your spine as the pain and discomfort can travel down into your legs. Though several issues can lead to sciatica, a herniated disc certainly leads the charge.

At Mass Ave Chiropractic, Dr. Joe Kielur and our team specialize in the myriad problems that affect your spine, including sciatica. To help you better understand how sciatica develops, we’re taking this opportunity to highlight the link between a herniated disc and sciatica.

Sciatica — a large problem

Your sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body, which is made abundantly clear when it’s irritated. Your sciatic nerve begins in your lumbar spine where five nerve roots come together to form one larger nerve. From there, this single nerve branches out and travels down each of your buttocks and the backs of both your legs, clear down to your feet. This division is why the symptoms of sciatica often affect only one side of your body.

In addition to the pain, which typically comes and goes with certain movements, sciatica also leads to tingling and numbness that can radiate down your leg. In more severe cases, you may also experience muscle weakness.

The root of the sciatica problem

The pain and discomfort associated with sciatica often develop when one of the discs in your lumbar spine irritates the highly sensitive nerve roots that form your sciatic nerve.

Under normal circumstances, your lumbar discs provide crucial cushioning and support between the five vertebrae that make up your lumbar spine. Unlike the other discs along your spine, your lumbar discs are arguably the hardest-working as your lower back moves far more than other areas of your spine.


To keep up with the workload, your discs are made of a tough exterior that houses a jelly-like substance on the inside, which is what provides the shock absorption and range of movement in your lower back.

If this outer exterior weakens because of degenerative processes or wear-and-tear, the disc can herniate, which means it pushes out of its normal space and comes into contact with the nerves in the area — in this case, your sciatic nerve. It’s this irritation that creates the symptoms of sciatica.

Treating your herniated disc to relieve your sciatica

If we find that a herniated disc is the cause of your sciatica, the good news is that we offer an effective treatment method called the DRS Protocol™, which stands for decompression, reduction, and stabilization. 

This therapy combines adjustments and spinal decompression to take the pressure off your nerve to relieve your discomfort. Through this technique, we create more space between your vertebrae to allow oxygen, water, and essential nutrients to flow more freely, which support the health of your discs.

If you’re struggling with sciatica that’s brought on by a herniated disc, please contact our office in Indianapolis, Indiana, for relief.

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