Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments of Sciatica
Sciatica refers to the irritation that occurs on the sciatic nerve. Things that irritate the nerve lead to pain, which varies in intensity.
When looking at sciatica, do not consider it as though it is a condition. Instead, view it as a symptom of another problem underlying the sciatic nerve. Studies show that the symptom could affect as many as 40 percent of people in their life.
Most people confuse sciatica with back pain. However, the two conditions are different. In particular, sciatica stands out because it does not just affect the back. It affects the longest and widest nerve in the body. The nerve runs from the lower back, through the buttock, and down the legs to the end below the knee.
The nerve helps with controlling different muscles in the lower legs. It also sends sensation to the feet, skin, and most of the lower leg parts.
Sciatica’s main sign is a sudden shooting pain that can happen at any point on the sciatic nerve. That is, you could feel the pain from the lower back, through the buttock, to the legs and knees.
Other symptoms include:
The toes and feet have a tingling sensation
The leg develops numbness
The pain can be mild or severe. Some people may experience excruciating pain or a sharp, burning sensation. It gets worse when one sits for long.
Sciatica symptoms can also appear in what feels like an electric shock. These get worse when you sneeze or cough. Typically, it affects just one side of the body.
Causes of sciatica
Sciatica manifests as a symptom of underlying medical conditions. Studies suggest that the biggest percentage of the cases come from a slipped disk. The disks form an important part of the spinal cord. They comprise cartilage which helps cushion the vertebra. The slipped disk asserts pressure on the sciatica nerve, hence the pain.
Sciatica can also result from the following:
Infection that eventually ends up in the spine
The spinal cord becomes narrow at the lower back. This is a medical condition called lumbar spinal stenosis
Tumors forming within the spine
Slipping of the disks over the vertebra underneath it
On rare occasions, sciatica can come about due to a serious condition called Cauda equina syndrome. Anyone with this condition should seek immediate medical attention.
Sciatica risk factors comprise:
Age (those in their 30s and 40s have a higher risk)
Professions that require long-time lifting of heavy loads
Diabetes impacts how the body uses blood sugar
Obesity since this places more stress on the spine
Diagnosis and treatment options for sciatica
Diagnosis for sciatica involves a physical exam. The doctor seeks to understand your muscle strength and reflexes. You may have to walk on your toes or heels as part of the examination process. You could also squat in a position for a specific amount of time. Please note that these exercises will make you get more pain from sciatica.
Once diagnosed, treatment can be done in different forms.
Medications like narcotics, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories, anti-seizure medications, and tricyclic antidepressants
If you are experiencing symptoms of sciatica call Chronic Conditions Center today.