What You Should Know About Sciatica Pain

Sciatica Pain Illustration

Sciatica pain emanates from excessive pressure on the sciatic nerve, which is the longest, running from the spine to the bum and down to the feet. An irritation of this nerve causes pain that travels all the way to the feet. When this happens, you may experience mild or severe back and leg pain .

Sciatica Causes
One of the major causes of sciatica back pain is a slipped disc. A slipped disc, or herniated disc, is rupture of a disc in the vertebrae column, which causes a bulge that puts pressure on the sciatica nerve. The back pain caused by this condition depends on the amount of pressure exerted on this nerve .
Other causes of sciatica are injuries, infections, tumours or spinal stenosis, which occurs when the nerve passage in the back narrows . Spinal stenosis causes back pain and sciatica leg pain as the fibrous tissue or the discs squeeze the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is alo an age-related disease. It occurs as the spine changes due to the natural aging process. Additionally, it can arise from bone diseases such as Paget’s disease.

Causes of Sciatica Pain

What are the Symptoms of Sciatica?
Symptoms of sciatica vary with the severity of the problem. If it is a mild condition, you will experience pain for about a month and a half. If it goes beyond that period, you have chronic sciatica pain.
Sciatica pain waves run from the lower back to the buttocks and down to the feet. The magnitude of these aches increases when you sneeze, cough, laugh or bend. You may also experience more pain when you sit or stand for a long time. Your legs may go numb or weak and you may lose reflexes of tendons. At its worst, sciatica can give you a numb bottom, lumbar spine or leg. When you get such symptoms or an uncontrollable bladder, you need to get emergency medical attention .
To diagnose sciatica, the doctor will use the straight leg raise test where you lie on your back, raise your leg and the doctor will lift your foot to figure out where the pain starts. If your condition is severe, the doctor will conduct other tests to rule out diseases such as cancer, an infection or cauda equine syndrome. Other tests for sciatica symptoms include a blood test, an X-ray and MRI scan .

Sciatica Treatment
Sciatica pain treatment varies with severity of the problem. You may be suffering from short-term or long-term sciatica pain. For the short-term problem, the doctor will prescribe painkillers, exercise and compression packs to ease the discomfort. These ways of treating sciatica can eliminate the problem in about six weeks.
Medication used in treating sciatica includes analgesics, sedatives, muscle relaxants, hypnotics, psychotropic and anti-inflammatory drugs .
For chronic sciatica, the doctor will recommend pain relievers such as Paracetamol, codeine and gabapentin. You may also need sciatica nerve pain relief through corticosteroid injections. Besides medication, chronic sciatica requires exercises and manual therapy to strengthen muscles and boost production of pain relieving hormones known as endorphins. Sciatica surgery is advisable when you have a slipped disc or the condition has gone out of hand despite efforts to use other cures for sciatica. Relief for sciatica through surgery involves procedures like discectomy, fusion surgery and laminectomy .
Pregnant women may suffer from sciatica because of the pressure exerted on the sciatic nerve as the pelvic bones adapt to the new weight. It is possible to alleviate the pain caused by this change through exercise. Sciatica pregnancy treatment incorporates a few changes that can ease the discomfort. For example, a pregnant woman should not lie flat on the back and when sitting, she should support the back with pillows. Sciatica stretches over the baby can also reduce the pain and exercise the back muscles .

Chiropractic Care

Sciatica Exercises
Sciatica pain relief through exercises let you strengthen the back and muscles. It also makes you active so you have less time to worry about pain. The best exercises for sciatica relief are the ones that strengthen and stretch muscles. The back muscles need strength to support the spine, without this, they are prone to injury. You need the right workout for the specific condition you are suffering from, hence the need to work with an expert .
Get sciatica relief through the
 Knee to chest stretch
 Mobilising stretch
 Back extensions
 Standing hamstring stretch
 Lying deep gluteal stretch
In addition, acupuncture for sciatica can get rid of the bothersome ache by stimulating the nerves in the spine. This assists in production of the happy hormone, endorphins, which ease pain. It also reduces inflammation and muscle stiffness.