Sciatic Nerve Pain: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Sciatic nerve pain is characterized by a pain that originates from the lower back to the back of each of the legs. Sciatic nerve is a large nerve extending from the spinal cord to the lower back; it goes down to the hips and extends towards the back of the legs till the feet. There could also be tingling, numbness felt in the patients.


Symptoms of Sciatic Pain

Sciatic nerve pain manifests as a shooting pain originating from the lower back and travels down to the feet. Severe buttock pain or lower back pain is also felt in some cases. Sitting, standing, and various other activities worsen the medical condition. In some cases, there could be symptoms like numbness and weakness of legs and tingling in the feet.

Causes of Sciatic Pain

The main cause for this sciatic is the swelling or herniated disc in the spine, which presses the nerve roots that connect to the sciatic nerve. But sciatic condition could also be due to some other symptoms such as spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spine canal caused by arthritis. It could also be the result of nerve compression caused by injuries. In some cases, it is also found that the sciatic pain occurs due to pregnancy or tumors. Sometimes internal bleeding or infections around the lumbar spine may cause sciatic pain.

Sciatic Pain Treatment

There are many different ways to provide sciatica relief. The initial sciatica treatment would be to use medicines and relieve the pain through regular exercises.

Avoid sitting for a longer duration of time. You can use a heating pad every 2 to 3 hours where you can set the pad for 15 to 30 minutes. This gives you instant relief. A warm shower could also help to control the pain. An ice pack can be used for that area for every 2 to 3 hours.

If the pain doe not subside, you should contact a doctor. Usually for such conditions, drugs like Tylenol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are administered. In some cases, the doctor might prescribe physiotherapy. Some amount of massage therapy is helpful in such cases since it improves blood circulation and relaxes the muscles. Doctors may also administer injections of steroids or muscle relaxants. An epidural steroid injection may reduce inflammation. Surgery may be recommended in critical conditions.

Acupuncture is one effective sciatic treatment that can be practiced for sciatica pain relief. In this therapy, hair thin needles are inserted into the skin near the area of the pain. This therapy is also approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You should also consider ergonomic assessment at your workplace. Based on the nature of the job and lifestyle, patients will be recommended safe postures for sciatic pain relief.

One of the proven sciatic treatments is chiropractic manipulation. Here, spinal adjustments are done by trained health professionals. These osteopathic physicians are trained to align the spinal column to alleviate sciatic pain.

For recurring sciatic pain, it is reasonable to consider surgery to treat sciatica. Some patients may suffer from immense lower back pain or leg pain, which doesn’t subside through usage of medicines. Even after undergoing treatments like physiotherapy or muscle manipulation, the sciatic pain may continue in some patients. In some cases, the condition worsens and results in lower bladder control and weakness in legs. Depending upon the cause and period of sciatic pain, there are two major types of surgeries recommended – microdiscectomy and lumbar laminectomy. According to reports, 90 percent of patients get relief from sciatic pain after these surgeries.

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