Sciatica is a debilitating disorder that can often leave you with pain, numbness or tingling down the back of the leg. A common mistake is lower back pain and other pathologies being wrongly diagnosed as sciatica. In most cases of sciatica, this is due to irritation of the nerve. For some of the population the piriformis is the cause of the sciatic related symptoms, however, this is called piriformis syndrome and not sciatica.
The sciatic nerve originates from the the lumbar spine and is easily the largest nerve in the body. The pain is often worsened when bending over, twisting and coughing. In most cases there will be an inflammation of the nerve due to the something irritating the nerve, such as a bulge in the vertebral disc. I do stress, if you have any numbness in the saddle region or have some bladder dysfunction related to what you think is sciatica, then go to the hospital for once over. As this could be something more serious.
What causes Sciatica?
- Due to the origin of the sciatic nerve, a bulging or herniated lumbar disc can cause sciatica
- In an older patient, spinal stenonis can cause symptoms
- Spondylolisthesis, slipped disc, can also cause the nerve pain
- A tumour can lead to compression of the nerve
- A traumatic episode
- Muscle spasm can lead to the impingement of the nerve leading to production of symptoms
Who does sciatica commonly affect?
- No specific gender is affected
- There is a peak incidence for sciatica in populations entering their 40’s
- Rarely occurs in the population before the age of 20, unless there is a traumatic episode
- Jobs that subject the person to get into awkward positions have predisposed people to sciatica
How can I alleviate my sciatic pain?
There are many ways you can help yourself when you have sciatica. Firstly, the accurate diagnosis of the cause of the sciatica needs to be identified. If it is suspected that you have a spinal pathology causing your symptoms, then you should have a scan that can determine the true cause. From here then a treatment action plan can be put in place to help you out.
If your pain is muscular related, a deep tissue massage will be of great benefit to you. But when you aren’t able to see someone for treatment what can you do to give you comfort and reduce the pain you are feeling. Heres a few tips that you can do to relieve the symptoms when they arise.
- Use hot or cold packs to relieve pain and reduce inflammation
- Gentle stretches of hamstrings and muscles in the lumbar region
- Correct lifting techniques
- Try to avoid prolonged sitting
- Core activation exercises can be beneficial too
Exercises that can get rid of my sciatica?
Surgery for my Sciatica?
Surgery is the absolute last case scenario for sciatica and should only be thought about when all possible conservative treatments have been exhausted. This would be to treat the cause of the disorder. If you have a disc herniation then the surgery would remove this to reduce the compression on the nerve. There are many others that can be completed but this relates to the alternative pathology that causes the sciatica. Ultimately, not all surgery works, with many patients still complaining of pain and discomfort many months following surgery. Conservative treatment, when correctly directed can produce the better outcomes in a short time frame.
Do you suffer with sciatica type symptoms, book in so we can get you back to your lives pain free.