What is Sciatica – What you need to know about sciatica


Sciatica is the name of a pain that starts from the buttocks down the back of your legs. Normally it occurs because of a pinched nerve. This sciatic nerve has a length of almost one inch and is located in the buttocks. The nerve is made up of various spinal nerves. This sciatic nerve has the responsibility of controlling the muscles that are at the back of your knee and the lower leg. The purpose of this nerve is to provide sensation at the back of your thigh, at the foot sole, and the lower area of the leg. The Sciatica pain is not exactly a problem with a sciatic nerve, but it usually happens by the nerve that is pinched due to other causes like herniated disc or bone spur. People who are in their middle ages are at much greater risk, and it is often the result of the natural progressive degenerative process.

Problems associated with Sciatica back pain

Problems that arise because of pinching of sciatic nerve are usually diagnosed as radiculopathy. It means that a disc has moved from its usual position and it exerting pressure on the radicular nerve that is linked with the sciatic nerve. This result in the pain referred to as sciatica.

Direct trauma or pressure on sciatic nerve that occurs from nearby body parts and excessive external pressures on the nerve may result in this pain. If the nerve goes through a narrow structure, the pressure exerted on it may cause sciatica. The damage eventually slows down the impulses transmission through the nerve and hence causes pain.

Diabetes or other systemic ailments normally bring damage to various different nerves, including this sciatic nerve. The damage caused to sciatic nerve can also be due to pressure from abscesses or tumors, or bleeding in the pelvic area.

Diagnose Sciatica Pain Relief Symptoms

To diagnose sciatica pain is usually easy but finding out the exact cause of this pain is a little hard. This is because the cause of sciatica can be anywhere in the path of the nerve from the spinal cord down to the backside of the knee.

This comprises of spinal stenosis (spinal canal narrowing), spinal disc herniation that exerts pressure on the nerve origins at the spine, piriformis syndrome (tightness and inflammation in a tiny muscle underneath the gluteus), pregnancy (the joints become softer and moreover the uterus can exert pressure on the nerve). Bearing in mind the array of diagnostic odds, it is very vital to have a qualified health care professional majoring in the spine to examine this problem.

It does not really matter which symptom causes sciatica in you, spinal stenosis, herniated disc, or any other, it is really important that you discuss the pain with your doctor and start its treatment as soon as possible. A number of these conditions apart from pregnancy, if left unattended may lead to permanent damage of the nerve, loss of movement in the leg that is affected, loss of feeling in the leg, or even loss of bladder or bowel function.

sciatic nerve relief

Many People are looking for effective ways to get sciatica pain relief.

Sciatica is severe pain in the back of the leg from the buttock down, running along the course of the sciatic nerve. There are many variations on this pain. It may come on gradually, or it may start abruptly. Sometimes it is described as a “shooting” pain, or a sharp pain. Sometimes it is described as feeling like an electric shock. Moving your leg may make the pain worse, and it usually only affects one side of the body. Sciatica treatment may seem as varied as the descriptions of sciatica, because there are many different approaches to sciatica pain relief that are used.

Sciatica can make standing or sitting impossible due to the pain. Sometimes the pain is aggravated by sneezing or coughing, and it can include weakness or numbness. Rarely, symptoms may include the inability to bend your knee or move your toes and foot. Sciatica pain relief can become a desperate quest for someone suffering from sciatica.

Anything that causes irritation of or pressure on the nerve roots of the sciatic nerve can trigger the pain of sciatica. Some causes of sciatica are spinal injury, a ruptured intervertebral disc, narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis), infection, or tumor. The last two causes of sciatica are rare, however. Sciatica treatment may address the symptoms, or it may address the causes.

The sciatic nerve network is located in the lower regions of the spine: the lumbar and sacral regions. In each vertebral disc is an outer layer of cartilage and an inner layer which is more elastic. If a disc has become weaker (which can happen with age), falling or heavy lifting can cause cracks in the outer layers, allowing the central part of the disc to squeeze out. This is what is known as a rupture, and it can cause pressure on the spinal cord or on the nerves that branch out from it. A rupture in the lumbar or sacral part of the spine can inflict pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing the pain of sciatica.

Receiving sciatica pain relief has generally focused on three things: bed rest, pain relief, and as a last resort, spinal surgery.

While bed rest used to be routinely prescribed for sciatica, a Dutch study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the same proportion of patients (two-thirds) whether on or off bed rest reported similar numbers of days off and of subsequent surgical interventions. Today, physical therapy may be prescribed as a sciatica treatment. Some physicians recommend gentle exercise such as walking. Physical therapy rehabilitation may involve exercises to help improve posture, strengthen back muscles, and increase flexibility.

Sciatica pain relief treatment often means simple over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen. Sometimes self-care measures in addition to over-the-counter drugs can achieve better sciatica pain relief results. Such measures include the use of hot packs or cold packs, or gentle stretching. In acute cases of sciatica, sometimes a narcotic will be prescribed. Some doctors will inject a cortisone-like drug into the epidural space which surrounds the spinal column. It is similar to the epidural used during childbirth. While this procedure may give temporary relief, it is not a cure, because it does not address the cause of the sciatic pain.

Other sciatica pain relief surgery alternatives information

While surgery is usually a “last resort” treatment for sciatica, it does give some patients relief. For those with herniated discs, a procedure called a laminectomy may be done. It involves removing part of the posterior arch to relieve pressure on nerves. For those whose sciatica is caused by spinal stenosis, the parts of the bone that are pressuring the sciatic nerve can be taken out. Spinal surgery as sciatica treatment sounds serious, and it is. It is usually reserved for those who have had no improvement in their sciatic nerve pain for at least four to six weeks, and whose CT or MRI scans show a herniated disc or spinal stenosis.

Some people with sciatica turn to alternative therapies such as acupuncture, acupressure, and yoga for sciatica pain relief. With yoga it is important to do the correct stretches. There are some poses, such as forward folds that can aggravate sciatic nerve pain. Exercises that stretch the backs of the legs can irritate the sciatic nerve, so it is important to be informed and be careful.

While this may sound discouraging, the reality is that scientists are learning more about sciatica all the time, and new therapies and sciatica treatments are on the horizon. One promising new treatment provides relief in a matter of minutes and a cure for sciatica in seven days. While sciatica is definitely an unpleasant and painful condition, there is real hope for those who want to get an effective sciatica pain relief program.