Sciatica is a medical condition during which a person experiences pain in the leg. The pain originates in the lower back. Sciatic nerve is created by the nerve roots framed at the end of the spinal cord, reaching to the buttock, leg, ankle and foot. Extreme pain in the lower back and leg; accompanied by tingling or numbness causes Sciatica.
Causes of Sciatica
Major causes of Sciatica are Spinal Disc Herniation (slipped disc) – a condition in which the outer ring of the disc gets torn and the central portion of the inter vertebral disc lumps out. The bulged part gets pressed against the nerve roots and that causes Sciatica.
Apart from that, arthritis can lead to Sciatica. Arthritis may lead to narrowing down of the spinal cord. This creates pressure around the nerve roots and the pain starts. In some cases, injury also causes Sciatica. Any other condition that irritates or compresses sciatic nerve can cause pain in the lower back and leg subsequently.
Symptoms of Sciatica
- Constant pain in lower back and on one side of the buttock or leg is the one of the most important symptoms of Sciatica. Usually pain occurs in one leg only, in some rare cases it may happen in both legs.
- The nature of the pain is often described as sharp and intense.
- In some cases, patients also feel prickling and shooting sensations in the foot.
- Intensity of the pain tends to increase while making swift movements and shifts.
- At times, victims experience shooting pain while walking and fail to lift the foot.
- Sitting or standing in the same position for long can worsen the situation. On the other hand; sleeping or walking can bring some relief from pain.
- A flex or a sudden crack in the spine can also lead to pain.
Diagnosis of Sciatica
- Medical history
- Physical examination
- X-rays and MRI
Treatment of Sciatica
The specific treatment of Sciatica is defined on the basis of the exact cause of the nerve irritation. Usually, steroids and injections are prescribed by the doctors and often the same is accompanied by exercises to bring quick relief. Usually, Sciatica comes as a short-term condition and gets cured without much trouble if proper care and rest is assured. It is important to note that rest here does not mean bed rest.
In some cases, doctors also advice use of hot pack or cold pack therapy to bring relief from inflammation and pain. A 10 to 15 minutes long session can bring relief from shooting pain.
Another tried and tested treatment for Sciatica is physical therapy. Routine exercise like walking, climbing stairs, making specified moments can help. Electrical stimulation also helps in curing chronic and acute pain. It helps in gaining back the flexibility and strength of the spine as well.
- Don’t stand or sit in the same position for long.
- Don’t perform exercises without observation.