Have Some of These Symptoms? You Might Have Sciatica!

Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.

Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disk, bone spur on the spine, or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.

Symptoms

Pain that radiates from your lower back to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica.

You might feel the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it’s especially likely to follow a path from your low back to your buttock and the back of your thigh and calf.

The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating pain. Sometimes it can feel like a jolt or electric shock. It can be worse when you cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms. Usually only one side of your body is affected.

Some people also have numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. You might have pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another part.

 

When do I seek medical intervention?

Mild sciatica usually goes away over time. Call your doctor if home management doesn’t work or if your pain lasts longer than a week, or if severe or becomes progressively worse.
Get immediate medical care if:

  • You have sudden, severe pain in your low back or leg and numbness or muscle weakness in your leg
  • The pain follows a violent injury, such as a traffic accident
  • You have trouble controlling your bowels or bladder

Prevention of sciatica

In some cases, sciatica can be prevented; there are several lifestyle changes that can reduce the chances of developing it, including regular exercise and making sure proper posture is used when standing, sitting upright, and lifting objects.

 

Management of sciatica

There are steps you can take at home to ease the pain of sciatica:

 

Medication

Over-the-counter pain relievers can provide short-term relief from sciatica. Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Your doctor may give you a steroid injection to further reduce the inflammation.

 

Ice and Heat

A heating pad or ice pack may be especially helpful. Apply the heat or ice for about 20 minutes every two hours. Experiment to see which provides more relief, or try alternating between the two.

 

Physical Therapy

While sciatica is healing, try to remain active. Motion can actually help reduce inflammation and pain. A physical therapist can show you how to gently stretch the hamstring and lower back. Depending on your medical condition, certain exercises may not be recommended.

A physical therapist will create an individualized plan of care tailored to addressing all your symptoms.

 

 


Sources

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/7619.php

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/symptoms-causes/syc-20377435

https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/ss/slideshow-visual-guide-to-sciatica

Low Back Pain & Sciatica Relief