Can Sciatica Cause Stomach Pain? Guide For Abdominal and Lower Limb Neuropathic Pain

It is common to hear people complain about lower back pain. This could be on one or both sides. The pain may radiate down to the back of the leg, and the foot. You will see this more in adults. When lower back pain radiating to abdomen comes with numbness, weakness, or abnormal sensation along the path of the pain, it’s probably sciatica.

Sciatica is just the irritation of the sciatic nerve due to inflammation or compression of the nerve at its roots. The nerve roots are from both the lower lumbar and sacral nerves. You may inquire about can sciatica cause pelvic pain. In some cases, yes.

But can sciatica cause stomach pain too? The answer is no. High lesions may interfere with the roots of the nerves supplying the stomach.

Neuropathic Pain of the Abdomen and Lower Limb

Back pain that is radiating into the abdomen can be related to neuropathic issues. A lower back pain that radiates to the back, or a stomach pain radiating to the lower back can be suspicious. And when any of these combines with an unusual sensation, you can be certain that it’s neuropathic pain.

Neuropathic Pain of the Abdomen and Lower Limb

The disorder of a nerve or group of nerves is the major cause of neuropathic pain. This causes spontaneity or a decrease in the threshold for excitation ability. In this way, there is an abnormal increase in the sensitivity ability of the body’s sensory system.

For example, there are common causes of nerve lesions:

  • Compression
  • Inflammation
  • Infections
  • Trauma
  • Toxins, etc.

These are vulnerable conditions that may give rise to a diseased neuron with increased sensitivity.

Any cause of compression of the sciatic nerve in the pelvis will most likely cause sciatica. This will not feature as a lower back pain radiating to the front of the abdomen, but the buttocks, and legs. This answers our worries- “can pelvic tilt cause sciatica?” or “can uterine prolapse cause sciatica?”

Can Spinal Problems Cause Abdominal Pain?

The spinal cord in adults runs through a hollow protective bony cavity through the vertebral column. It drives from the foramen magnum of the skull to the lower margin of the first lumbar vertebrae. In between the vertebrae joints, the ventral and dorsal nerve roots of the spinal nerves leave the spinal cord.

Spinal Problems Cause Abdominal Pain

These spinal nerves, numbering about thirty-one, conduct motor innervations to the peripheral muscles. They also carry sensory inflows from peripheral organs like the skin to the brain. These nerves carry the sensations for pain and temperature, fine and crude touches, pressure, proprioception, etc.

The majority of the body’s sensory signals are from the organs connected to the walls of the body cavities. The visceral aka organs inside the cavities are in contrast, not much innervated for sensory stimulus. You can elicit pain from the abdominal visceral on superficial palpation. Visceral pains can also be referred to as the somatic innervation of their shared spinal nerve roots. It also answers when you will ask can sciatica cause stomach pain.

A right lower quadrant pain radiating to the back may rather be a sign of internal irritation. Just like a lower left abdominal pain radiating to the back. Kidney diseases will cause lumbar pain radiating to the abdomen, while a slap on the back will most likely not cause that.

Can Sciatica Cause Pelvic Pain?

When we have the colon pressing on the sciatic nerve, for instance, the sciatic nerve may get irritated. This sends afferent pain impulses to the brain.

The brain may interpret it as coming from other organs innervated from the same nerve root as the sciatic nerve. This condition may relate to sciatica and abdominal pain, and how the sciatic nerve causes stomach pain.

Within the vertebral column, stenosis due to a disc or vertebrae disorder can compress the spinal cord. Can spinal stenosis cause abdominal pain?

Yes, because high-level stenosis can elicit lower back pain wrapping around the stomach. It may also present as severe back pain radiating to the abdomen.

Does Sciatica Go Away Gradually? Check It Out.

Does Spinal and Pelvic Causes of Sciatica?

At this point, the possible unsuspected causes of sciatica may be a cause of worry to you. Your mind could be questioning if a sciatic nerve compression can occur extra-spinally. You may be prompted to ask- can a twisted pelvis cause sciatica? Or an anterior pelvic tilt causes sciatica.

Spinal and Pelvic Causes of Sciatica

Most noteworthy is to recall that sciatica is a pathology affecting the sciatic nerve. It could be the nerve bundle or the nerve root. It is worthy to learn of the features of this dysfunction.

That a compromised nerve root will have the same features as a compromised nerve bundle. This may obscure ruling out the spinal and extra-spinal cause of the disease.

A shortlist of the possible causes of sciatica. Both within the spine and in the pelvis are:

Spinal Tumours

Spinal Tumours are caused when the lesion in the spine is around the region of L5 to S3. The mass effect can cause the impingement of the roots of the sciatic nerve. It then compresses and irritates it to produce severe abdominal pain radiating to the back and legs.

Piriformis Syndrome

There is a close relationship between the piriformis muscle and the sciatic nerve. A spasm of this muscle, which can be due to overuse, can compress and entrap the sciatic nerve. This could cause a lower back tingling or pain. A pain that is expected to radiate down the buttock along the line of the sciatic nerve distribution.

Trauma

Trauma can cause sciatica either by at least two means. Due to a direct injury to the sciatic nerve or its nerve root. A secondary way is by provoking a hematoma or fracture that impinges on the nerve. So can sciatica cause stomach pain when you are traumatized? Perhaps not.

Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is an unfavorable neurologic condition. Harm to the cauda equina is the main cause. The cauda equina is a bundle of spinal nerve roots. It comprises the L2-L5 nerve pairs, all S1-S5 nerve pairs, and the coccygeal nerve. This can cause damage to the roots of the sciatic nerve, L4-S3, which are part of the cauda equina.

Disc herniation

The herniation of an intervertebral disc constitutes the majority of causes of sciatica. The expulsion of the nucleus of the disc impacts a root of the sciatic nerve. It will affect only one of the roots, usually of L5 or S1. This causes severe pain that radiates along the course of the particular nerve trunk.

Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a frontwards shift in the position of a vertebra. This allows the vertebrae’s body to encroach on the spinal cord and affect all nerve roots below the displacement. Here, sciatica may come with generalized lower back pain.

Pregnancy

In the third trimester, there is an increase in the weight of the fetus. This time again, there is a fetal descent into the pelvis. This predisposes pregnant women to suffer from sciatica. It is because of increased pressure on the sciatic nerve bundle, observed more when they are sitting.

In addition, abdominal aortic aneurysm and myofascial pain syndrome may look like sciatica. Though they are blood vessels and muscular disorders respectively. They can give lower back pain that may mimic sciatica.

Does Sciatica Cause Nausea

Sciatica is just the sensory discomfort due to the irritation of the sciatic nerve. Having said that, it is not expected to cause nausea. But the primary cause of the sciatic can trigger nausea and dizziness in a patient. For instance, this could be cauda equina syndrome.

Similarly, the pain that comes with non-isolated sciatica can be noxious. Something like a middle back pain radiating to the front abdomen. To illustrate, you may hear a patient say “sciatica makes me feel sick”. This drives them to overdose themselves with painkillers which would then trigger nausea.

Conclusion

It is important to note that sciatica patients are encouraged to resume physical activities. There does not seem to be a long-term benefit of surgery in these patients. A prescribed painkiller will do most of the time.

Neuritis of the sciatic nerve is known to come as mild to severe pain. In most cases, it originates from the lower back and moves into the legs. Irritants of the lumbar plexus will manifest as a right/left abdominal pain radiating to the back and leg. But if you will ask “can sciatica cause stomach pain? No, though the symptoms of sciatica can be multiple, depending on the cause, and what he did about it.

FAQ About Sciatica and  Stomach Pain

As a way of ensuring we provide you with complete information. And an educative piece. We have sampled and answered some likely questions that people may ask:

Can sciatica cause lower abdomen pain?

The dermatome distribution of the sciatic nerve (L4-S3 nerves) does not cover the lower abdomen. The sciatic nerve does not have sensory supplies to this area. As a result, the sciatic nerve is not expected to cause lower abdominal pain.

Can sciatica cause stomach upset?

In the case of an isolated irritation of the sciatic nerve or its nerve roots. In a case without the involvement of any other nerve root. Sciatica does not cause stomach upset. We know that pains can be quite severe and unsettling. It may drive the patient into consuming tons of painkillers that will in the end cause a stomach upset.

Can a pinched nerve affect your stomach?

A nerve supplies every of the body’s organs. As a result of this, a pinched nerve can affect the stomach. It is a fact that visceral organs like the stomach are not much innervated by pain fibers. But, pain from the stomach can refer along its nerve root’s dermatome. This is the nerve root of the gastric innervation that can create a false pain there. So the answer remains the same for can sciatica cause stomach pain. And it’s a no.

Can back pain make your stomach hurt?

Back pain, depending on the level, can be a reflection that the stomach hurts. Several parts of the body share the same nerve roots. Like some parts of the upper back and the sympathetic nerve of the stomach. A derangement in the stomach can initiate back pain. Isolated back pain does not seem to hurt the stomach.

Dr Ahmed Zayed

Dr. Ahmed Zayed holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, Dr. Ahmed spends his time outside the hospital, either reading or at the gym.

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