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 a long time.
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 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
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the main cause of sciatica?
Sciatica (also known as sciatic neuritis) is a condition where the sciatic nerve is irritated. This causes pain to travel from the low back down your leg and into the foot. The condition is due to pressure or irritation on the nerve root of the sciatic nerve. It is commonly caused by a herniated disc, arthritis, spinal stenosis, or some other problem in the lumbar spine.
What is the best way to relieve sciatica?
There are many treatments available. For example, chiropractic, spinal decompression, laser, spinal molding, pulse wave, and rehabilitative exercises are all time-tested methods that have an excellent record of success.
Does sciatica go away on its own?
In the majority of cases, sciatic pain resolves itself in about six weeks. However, some cases require conservative management (such as chiropractic).
What should you not do with sciatica?
There are a number of things to avoid if you have sciatica:
- Bending over
- Bed rest
- Sitting in an office chair that doesn’t support the spine properly
- Sitting for longer than 20 minutes at a time
- Lifting heavy weights without doing a proper warm-up
How long does it take for chiropractic to help with sciatica?
Sciatic can be due to such problems as a herniated disc, subluxation, and other issues. Sometimes it takes a few months to correct the problem. But please keep in mind: It took time for the problem to develop. Naturally, it’s going to take some time for us to unwind your problem.
Is it better to rest or exercise with sciatica?
When your sciatic nerve is irritated, sometimes the last thing you want to do is move. However, low-impact motion (such as walking, or exercising in a swimming pool) is exactly the right thing to do. That being said, you do want to avoid high-impact activities like running, playing tennis, and any activity that can irritate or strain the sciatic nerve.