This irritation of nerve traveling from the lumbosacral spine (L4-S3) into the hips, legs, and feet. Sciatica is when the sciatic nerve has irritation from a possibility of multiple pain sources. Often times sciatica is associated with disc involvement, stenosis, degenerative processes, muscular entrapment, or inflammation to name a few. The important part is finding where the “pinch is coming from.” Most cases respond well with conservative care with close inspection of neurological compromise.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This is irritation of the median nerve in the carpal region (wrist). This syndrome causes numbness/tingling into the thumb and three fingers nearest. This condition does not affect the pinky finger. This is often caused by pregnancy, arthritis, and tendon inflammation to name a few of many.
Ulnar Nerve Irritation
This affects the “pinky” finger and adjacent half of the “ring finger.” This can become irritated at the cubital tunnel of the elbow (cubital tunnel syndrome) or higher up near the cervicothoracic spine.
Median Nerve Irritation
This is numbness into the thumb and three adjacent fingers. This is often irritated in the elbow, pronator teres, or the wrist. If the median nerve irritation occurs at the elbow this is referred to as pronator teres syndrome. If the entrapment occurs in the anterior forearm of the medial branch it is referred to as anterior interosseous syndrome.
Cervicobrachial Plexus Irritation
This is irritation of nerves at the base of the cervical spine (neck). This can occur through muscular entrapment, degenerative changes, inflammation. A condition known as thoracic outlet syndrome is very similar and can have to do with a cervical rib or enlarged transverse process. If the pain intensifies with prolonged overhead use of arms this is typically more thoracic outlet, and if pain decreased while raising the arms most likely the irritation is at the cervical spine/neck.