Patient’s Guide to Sciatica Treatment
Sciatica is a medical condition in which a person experiences pain in the buttocks that radiates down one leg following the course of the affected sciatic nerve, one of the longest nerves in the body. The sciatic nerve runs down from your lower back and then splits through your hips, buttocks and both legs and feet.
Sciatica is often very painful and can be disruptive when a person does simple things like walking, sitting, and bending. The pain can become very severe at times and cause a tingling or numbing sensation in the leg or foot.
Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica can be caused due to many reasons, such as:
- Herniated slipped disc
- The spinal canal narrowing in the lower back, a condition known as lumbar spinal stenosis
- Muscle spasms in the lower back or the buttocks
- Being overweight
- Lack of physical activity
- Using a mattress that is too hard or soft
- Tumours within the spine
- Infection in the spine
Symptoms of Sciatica
Though lower back pain is one of the common symptoms of sciatica, it does not always mean that you have a damaged sciatic nerve. However, there are other symptoms which can indicate that you suffer from sciatica, these include:
- Pain in the buttocks or one leg that gets worse when you try to sit
- Tingling or a needle-pricking sensation in one of the legs
- Numbness or weakness when trying to move the feet
- Hip pain
- A shooting painful sensation that makes standing difficult
- Constant pain on one side of the buttocks
It is important to understand that sciatica affects only one side of the body, depending on where the nerve is affected. This pain may, in some cases, travel down to your foot or toes.
Treatment of Sciatica
Different cases of sciatica are treated differently depending on the patient’s condition. Sometimes, sciatica does not require any treatment and resolves on its own within a period of three to six weeks. However, for worse cases, such as when an individual is unable to carry out daily activities, medical attention is necessary. Some of the treatments that might be suggested include:
- Medications for controlling sciatic pain like NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, opioids and acetaminophen
- Surgical procedures, which involve partial disc removal or lumbar laminectomy. This procedure has been known to be more effective in reducing pain than most non-surgical procedures
- Epidural Injections
- Heat and ice method
- Chiropractic care
- Osteopathic Treatment
Where to Get Treated?
If you feel that you are suffering from sciatica and need medical attention, then you can visit professionals who specialize in the field, such as:
It can be difficult to live with chronic or acute sciatica that has been troubling you for years. So if you have not yet thought of seeking medical advice, it’s important to do so before it hinders your life. Just ensure that you visit a qualified medical professional to receive the treatment you need.