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What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is referred to as any kind of pain lead by irritation or a compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in our body which runs from the back of our pelvis through our buttocks &goes all the way to both legs till our feet. The pain of the sciatica is generally felt within buttocks & legs.

Most people experience that it goes off naturally in few weeks, however, in some cases, it also lasts for around a year or even more.

Symptoms associated with Sciatica:

If a sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed, it can lead to:-

  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • A tingling sensation which radiates from our lower back & travels to one of the legs tills its toes
  • Weakness of calf muscles or muscles which move ankle and foot

The pain could range from mild to very being very painful & may even get worse by coughing, sneezing or sitting for a long time.

While the individuals having sciatica could also have a usual back pain, this pain linked to sciatica generally affects legs and buttocks much more than back.

Causes of Sciatica Pain:

In most of the cases, sciatica is lead by a slipped disk which occurs when 1 of the disks seated between the bones of spine gets damaged & presses on our nerves. It isn’t always clear as to what leads to this damage, however, as we get older our disks get less flexible & more likely to get ruptured.

The less common cause is:-

  • Spinal stenosis or narrowing of nerve passages within spine
  • Spondylolisthesis or slipping of vertebra out of its position
  • Spinal injury or an infection
  • Growth in the spine like a tumor
  • Cauda equine syndrome or a rare but a serious condition lead by compressed & damaged nerves of the spinal cord.

Treatment for Sciatica:

Most cases do not need treatment as they pass in approximately 6 weeks.

A combination of things we can do at home like taking some anti-inflammatory painkillers for back pain, exercising & staying active & using cold or hot packs could help in lowering the symptoms till the improvement of the condition.

Further treatment could be required in few cases like:-

  • An exercise schedule under supervision of physiotherapist
  • More powerful painkiller tablets
  • injections of the anti-inflammatory & painkilling medicines into our spine
  • manual therapy or treatments like manipulation of massage and spine, generally done by physiotherapists, osteopaths, and chiropractors.
  • Psychological therapy & support

In some rare events, surgery could be required for correction of problems in our spine