Sciatic pain is due to irritation, swelling, pinching, or compression of the lower back of the nerve. A herniated or slipped disc that produces pressure on the nerve's root is the most typical reason. With patience and self-care, most persons with sciatica improve on their own.
Sciatica is severe nerve pain that begins in the buttock/gluteal area and can result from any injury or sensitivity to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the thickest and broadest (almost a finger's breadth) nerve in the body. It consists of five nerve roots: two from the lower back, known as the lumbar region, and from the sacrum, the last segment of the spine. A proper and left sciatic nerve is when the nerve roots come together. One sciatic nerve runs from your hips, buttocks, and leg, ending just beneath the knee on each side of your body. The sciatic nerve then splits into several nerves that run down your leg and into your foot and toes.
Although actual sciatic nerve injury is uncommon, the term "sciatica" often describes any discomfort that begins in the lower backbone and spreads down the leg. Damage to a nerve — irritation, inflammation, pinching, or compression of a nerve in your lower back — is what causes severe discomfort.
If you have "sciatica," you will feel pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve route, which runs from the back to the hips, buttocks, and/or down your legs. Weak muscles of your leg and foot, numb leg, and stinging pins-and-needles experience in your ankle, foot, toes, etc., are all possible side effects.
Depending on the origin of sciatica pain, people describe it in a variety of ways. Sharp, shooting, or jolting pain is how some people describe the discomfort. Many people suffering from sciatica describe it as "scorching," "electric," and "stabbing" by others.
The pain may be persistent or intermittent. In addition, the discomfort in your leg is frequently more intense than in your lower back. When you rest or stand for lengthy periods, stand up, or twist your upper body, the discomfort may worsen. Coughing or sneezing, which are both forced and quick body movements, might aggravate the pain.
Typically, sciatica mainly affects one leg at a time. Sciatica can, however, strike both legs at the same time. It's just a question of where the nerve thrusts in the spinal column.
Sciatica can strike suddenly or develop over time. It is conditional on the cause. A disc herniation can result in excruciating discomfort. Arthritis of the spine occurs gradually over time.
Sciatica is a highly prevalent ailment. Sciatica affects about 40% of people in the United States at some point in their lives. Back pain is the third most prevalent reason for seeing a chiropractor.
Sciatica can be a result of several medical severities, including:
Tumors in the lumbar spinal canal pressure the sciatic nerve, causing lumbar spine or sciatic nerve trauma.
The symptoms of sciatica include:
Your chiropractor will start by reviewing your medical history and then will ask about the symptoms.
Your chiropractor will ask you to walk during your physical exam so that your chiropractor can assess how your spine supports your weight. To test the health of your calf muscles, a walk test on your toes and heels will be a mandate. Your doctor may also perform a straight leg raise test. You'll be asked to lie back with your legs straight for this test. Slowly elevate each leg and record the point where your pain starts. This test pinpoints the nerves that are affected and determine if one of your discs is damaged. Furthermore, the chiropractor will request stretches and actions to localize pain and check muscular flexibility and strength.
During your physical examination, imaging, and another testing, depending on what your chiropractor discovers. These could include:
Every person who suffers from sciatica is unique. The type of pain, the degree of the pain, and the reason for the pain are all variables to consider. Chiropractors may try More aggressive treatment first in some cases. However, suppose a six-week trial of conservative self-care methods has failed to offer relief, such as ice, heat, stretching, and over-the-counter medications. In that case, it's time to see a chiropractor and explore additional treatment choices.
Other sciatic treatments according to chiropractors options include:
Prescription medications: Muscular relaxants, such as cyclobenzaprine (Amrix®, Flexeril®), may be prescribed by your chiropractor to alleviate the pain of muscle spasms. Tricyclic antidepressants and anti-seizure medicines are two further pain-relieving treatments to consider. Prescription pain medications may be used early in your treatment plan, depending on your level of pain.
Physical therapy: Physical therapy's purpose is to find exercise movements that relieve sciatica by lessening nerve pressure. Stretching exercises to promote muscle flexibility and cardiovascular exercises should be included in every workout regimen (such as walking, swimming, water aerobics). Your chiropractor can refer you to a physical therapist who will work with you to create a stretching and aerobic exercise program tailored to your specific needs and offer other exercises to strengthen muscles in the lower back, stomach, and legs.
Spinal injections: An injection of corticosteroid, an anti-inflammatory drug, into the lower back may relieve discomfort and swell around the damaged nerve roots. Injections provide pain relief for a brief period (usually up to three months) which are then administered as an outpatient procedure under local anesthetic. After the injection, you may feel some pressure, as well as a burning or stinging sensation. Discuss with your chiropractor the number of injections you may have and the hazards associated with injections.
Alternative therapies: Alternative therapies are increasingly popular to treat and manage various types of pain. Spinal manipulation by a competent chiropractor, yoga, or acupuncture is all option for relieving sciatic discomfort. Massage may help with muscle spasms, which are familiar with sciatica. Biofeedback is a technique that you can use to manage pain and stress.
Suppose alternative treatment options, such as stretching and medication, have failed. In that case, your pain is escalating, you have severe weakness in your lower extremities muscles, or you have no bladder or bowel control; spinal surgery is usually not indicated.
The source of your sciatica determines the timing of surgery. A chiropractic expert will only recommend surgery within a year of persistent problems. Suppose your pain is severe and unrelenting, prohibiting you from standing or working, and you might have to take admission to the hospital. In that case, you'll need more aggressive therapy and surgery sooner. If the chiropractor diagnoses the cause of the loss of bladder or bowel control to be equina cauda syndrome, you might need surgery.
Spinal surgery for sciatica aims to relieve pressure on pinched nerves while also ensuring that the spine is stable.
Surgical options for sciatica relief include:
You may require rest and a change in your activities and degree of exercise. Too much rest, bed rest, and physical inactivity, on the other hand, might aggravate your pain and hinder the healing process.
See your chiropractor or a spine specialist for a proper diagnosis before starting your exercise program. This chiropractor will send you to a physical therapist or another certified exercise or body mechanics specialist to develop the appropriate exercise and muscle strengthening program for you.
The majority of sciatica patients do not need surgery. All that is usually required is time and self-care therapy. However, if basic self-care methods do not reduce your discomfort, you should seek medical help. If necessary, your healthcare practitioner can determine the source of your pain, provide other treatments, and/or send you to additional spine health professionals.
If you have sciatica and experience these symptoms, you need to seek medical attention immediately:
Regardless of your condition and symptoms, if you are worried that you might develop the issue, you must visit your chiropractor and get checked at Realign Spine