All You Must Know About Sciatica Pain
- Dr. Charla Fischer
- May 16, 2017
Sciatica is the name given to excessive pain caused due to the sciatic nerve irritation. Anything that irritates sciatic nerve causes pain and the severity can vary from mild to severe. Usually, it is caused due to the compression of a nerve root in the lumbar spine. People often confuse sciatica pain with back pain, but this pain is so severe and is not limited to the back only because this nerve is the longest nerve in the human body. It extends from the lower back through buttocks, down the legs and ends just below the knees. The sciatic nerve controls a number of muscles in the lower legs and causes sensation to the foot and lower leg. In general terms, sciatica is not a condition but is a symptom that involves this nerve. Experts estimate that almost 40 % of people experience this pain once in their lifetime.
Short Term/ Acute Sciatica: This condition does not require professional treatments but hot and cold therapies, painkillers and proper exercises can help in reducing the symptoms. The pain lasts for 4-8 weeks.
Long term/ Chronic sciatica: This condition requires physical therapy, including applied heat, exercise and other relevant therapies and techniques. Surgery may be recommended in few cases. The pain lasts for more than 8 weeks.
What are the causes?
Sciatica is termed as a symptom of several medical conditions; however a majority of cases are due to herniated disc problem. Herniated disc is caused when a disk is pushed out of place and puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. Spondylolisthesis, lumbar spinal stenosis, spine infection, tumors and spine injury also contribute towards sciatica.
What are the Symptoms?
One of the major symptoms of sciatica is shooting pain along the sciatic nerve ranging from the lower back through the buttock and down the leg.
What is the Diagnosis of Sciatica?
The symptoms of acute sciatica last for not more than 4-8 weeks and it does not require any medical attention. If the pain does not subside within this period, complete medical history may help to speed up the process. A specialist might ask the individual to perform specific exercises that stretch sciatica nerve and the shooting pain during this process indicates sciatica. The patient might have to undergo X-ray or MRI for sciatica treatment New York to help identify what is compressing the sciatic nerve and causing severe pain.
How Sciatica can be prevented?
Sciatica pain cannot be prevented but lifestyle change can help to reduce its symptoms from developing. Maintaining proper posture while standing, sitting upright, bending properly, lifting objects correctly selecting right mattress and pillow can help support the spine.
- Sciatica nerve is the longest nerve in the body
- Sciatica is mostly caused due to herniated disc problem
- Sciatica is not a condition but a symptom of some other problem in the body
- Cognitive behavioral therapy can manage the pain to an extent.
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