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:-
- 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