Sciatica from arthritis is a common diagnosis linked to the osteo form of the condition. Osteoarthritis is generally a normal and asymptomatic part of the spinal aging process for every adult human on this planet.
While it is possible to experience sciatic nerve pain in some rare instances, most mild to moderate cases of osteoarthritis are nothing more than scapegoats on which sciatica symptoms are typically blamed. However, when arthritic debris or bone spurs block the foraminal spaces or decrease the overall patency of the central spinal canal, symptoms may be created. In the most severe of these degenerative changes, the expression produced may be truly debilitating.
The most common reasons for sciatica to be associated with osteoarthritis include bone spur growth and facet joint changes. Bone spurs are usually implicated in causing foraminal stenosis, when they grow near the foramen openings in between the vertebrae. In these instances, the osteophytes are suspected to cause a pinched nerve condition as the nerve roots exit the spinal column.
Bone spurs can also cause central stenotic change, possibly constricting the spinal cord. Additionally, when virtually any type of vertebral spurs interact with one another, debris will also be produced, which might help to narrow the central canal, as well.
Facet joint syndrome is the other major source of suspected arthritis pain. However, facet joint pain is also rare and is diagnosed far more often than it occurs. Even when facet syndrome exists, the pain is generally mechanical and not neurological, making sciatica an unlikely possibility at best.
Medical science has many treatment options for sciatica due to osteoarthritis. However, most of these therapies are illogical when the suspected cause of pain is analyzed.
Short of sciatica surgery, no other treatment option will do anything to reshape the spinal anatomy and relieve structural arthritic changes. However, this does not prevent countless millions of people from being enslaved into long-term symptomatic treatment programs, including the ongoing use of chiropractic and pain management drugs.
It is no surprise that these poor souls rarely find a real lasting cure, since their pain is often misdiagnosed to begin with, or is treated symptomatically, even if the diagnosis is correct.
It is possible for advanced cases of spinal arthritis to create serious symptoms, including sciatica. However, these instances are rare and do not represent the average person diagnosed with sciatica due to arthritis. Most of these diagnosed patients do not demonstrate any unusual changes in their spines and are clearly suffering from some other type of pain.
In some of these patients, oxygen deprivation is misidentified as the true source process, while a structural condition, such as osteoarthritis, takes the blame. In other circumstances where osteoarthritis is unfairly implicated in creating sciatica, the true reason for the symptoms might be a disease process or localized nerve dysfunction.
If your pain has not resolved, despite a variety of attempted treatments, I urge you to consider how osteoarthritis may be coincidental to the pain. OA is often diagnosed and treated by orthopedists, yet in order for it to cause sciatica, it must verifiably affect a nerve tissue. Therefore, it is worth consulting with a spinal neurologist if your sciatica has been blamed on what amounts of normal spinal arthritic change.