When we talk about Sciatica, we refer to the extreme pain on one side of the body that goes from the leg to the foot and is generally due to pressure, irritation, or inflammation of the sciatic nerve. The Sciatica is the longest nerve in the body and directs the muscles of the lower legs and knees; it also allows sensations from the back of the thigh and the sole. It is generally expected in middle-aged men and causes sick leave. At FastlyHeal we explain the symptoms, causes and treatment of Sciatica.
The most common symptom of Sciatica is pain, which can be more or less severe, and is present for several days or comes on suddenly, preventing you from moving or getting more robust when you try to sit up, cough, or lie down. In addition to the pain, the skin’s sensitivity can be altered, and you may experience a sensation of numbness or tingling. This can be added that your muscle reflexes are diminished, and there is muscle weakness.
Several lower back problems can cause pressure on the sciatic nerve:
- Lumbar disc herniation: it is usually the leading cause of Sciatica; the vertebral discs soften the friction that occurs between the vertebrae caused by movements; with age, these tend to move towards the spinal cord, and that is where the pressure of the nerve begins. It is widespread in men who tend to carry a lot of weight and in overweight people.
- Pregnancy: compression of internal organs by the uterus produces contractures that allow pressure on the nerve.
- Lumbar canal stenosis: the bone canal protects the spinal cord; when this canal begins to narrow, most of the time due to osteoarthritis, the lumbar part is the most affected area because it compresses the nerves and produces Sciatica.
- Piriformis syndrome: the sciatic nerve passes under this muscle, but sometimes it can cross it, and that is where the pain occurs, especially it is common in people who have had an injury that restricts their walking.
- Fractures: Any tear through which the sciatic nerve passes can cause pain.
- Paget’s disease: is due to the uncontrolled growth of the bones, especially in the pelvic area, and this causes compression of the sciatic nerve. It is very common in the elderly.
- Tumors: Chondrosarcoma and tumors in the pancreas are those that, generally, can cause Sciatica, although sometimes they only cause low back pain.
Treatment for Sciatica can include medicine, surgery, and exercises, and it sometimes goes away on its own. Regarding medications, your doctor may prescribe a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen, which should be taken every 8 hours while the pain is present and then lower the frequency so that the treatment continues for up to two weeks. Corticosteroids are also an option, but only if anti-inflammatories have no effect. An epidural injection can be given, which, unlike oral medications, is applied directly to the area where the pain occurs, but this method does not work for all patients.
Another way to treat Sciatica is to avoid carrying weight and not walking very long distances; on the other hand, applying cold compresses the first days of pain for 10 or 15 minutes; if the following weeks the pain is accompanied by a contracture, it is preferable to apply heat for 20 minutes. Acupuncture is also an option in the treatment of Sciatica.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.