The link between sciatica and acne
1st June 2015
Acne and sciatica are two conditions that can plague a person's life, and both associated with being a certain age... However, one is typically thought to affect the young, and the other, the old. Although not normally connected, researchers in Birmingham have discovered a potential predisposition for acne sufferers to get sciatica later in life.
The research shows that bacteria called propionibacterium that's found on the surface of facial skin, can also been found at the base of the spine of sciatica sufferers. The link was found by accident, as many medical breakthroughs often are, when researchers were working on developing a blood test to diagnose deep-seated infections in the spine. They used sciatica patients as a control group, to compare with their own patients, as their blood tests were expected to come back negative for an infection.
50% of the sciatica patients tested positive, suggesting a bacteria is present. The team then took tissue from sciatica sufferers and cultured them to see if bacteria would appear. They tested 36 different tissue samples and all came back positive after a week's wait.
The theory is that as people scratch and pop their spots which can break small blood vessels and let the bacteria into the bloodstream. The bacterium then manages to evade the body's natural defences and “hides” in the base of a damaged spine (e.g. from sporting injuries). As time goes by, the surrounding tissue is damaged from enzymes produced by the bacteria and can lead to nerve pressure and herniated discs.
Although there is lots more research to be done to truly understand the connection between these two conditions, it could eventually have amazing ramifications for both sciatica and acne sufferers. For now though, it's important to avoid breaking the skin around spots or squeezing them. Click here for more information about current acne treatments that are available.