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Sciatica Symptoms & Treatment
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Sciatica Symptoms & Treatment
Sciatic nerve pain is a common type of lower back pain which extends from the lower back to the back of the thigh and down through the leg. The sciatic nerve pain may also extend to the foot or toes. Each leg has its’ own sciatic nerve and sciatica pain usually affects only one side of the lower body. Sometimes it can be severe and debilitating and for others it may be infrequent and irritating.
How do I know Sciatica Symptoms?
Sciatica is caused by an irritation or flare up of the nerve roots in the lower back and pain in the leg by the following conditions.
- Degenerative disc disease. The discs in the spine act as a shock absorber when we bend and twist. Repetitive strain, ageing and trauma to the back can cause wear and tear on those discs.
- Herniated Disc. This can occur where we have a bulging of the disc which puts pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Piriformis syndrome. The function of the piriformis muscle is to externally rotate the hip and stabilize it. The sciatic nerve passes directly underneath the piriformis. When the piriformis muscle becomes tight, it can compress on the sciatic nerve. This can occur by lifting heavy weights at the gym, strenuous exercise or sitting for long periods of time. Sitting with a wallet or a phone in the back pocket can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause a sharp, stabbing pain down the leg to the foot.
- Spondylolisthesis. This condition is usually a result of degenerative disc disease such as arthritis. It most commonly affects the L4 moving forward on the L5 vertebrae and can be seen on an x-ray. This can distort the spinal canal and result in the sciatic nerve to flare up.
- Sciatic Nerve Injury. Sciatic Nerve Damage from prior trauma like a motor vehicle accident or a fall on the back or a tear to the piriformis muscle.
- Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. This is a narrowing of the spinal canal where tHe nerves exit the spine. Lumbar spinal stenosis tends to affect older people and pain is likely to be more constant, causing buttock pain and weakness of the leg muscles.
- Weight Gain and Pregnancy. An increase in weight or pregnancy can alter the tilt of the pelvis and lower back which can flare up the sciatic nerve.
What Causes Sciatic Nerve Pain?
- Lower back pain
- Weakness in the leg
- Pain in the back of the leg that is worse when sitting.
- Burning, tingling, numbness down the leg.
- Difficulty moving the leg or foot.
- Hip pain
- A shooting pain in the buttocks, leg or foot that makes it difficult to stand up.
Options for Sciatica Pain Treatment?
- Chiropractic for Sciatica At Kurilpa Chiropractic & Sports Massage, we take into account your medical history and will perform a physical examination, especially of the spine and legs. You may be asked to demonstrate several movements to check for muscle strength, flexibility and your reflexes. X-rays aren’t used to show up a herniated disc or nerve damage, however they can show up spondylolisthesis, bone spurs, narrow disc spaces and other bone disease that may contribute to the sciatica.A Chiropractic adjustment focuses on freeing up the joint that is not moving correctly. i.e; A misalignment in the sacro-iliac joint, sacrum bone or a lumbar vertebrae can cause a flare up of the sciatic nerve.The aim of the chiropractic treatment is to correct the misalignment so that you can move freely again.
- Sciatica massage Deep tissue massage and trigger point therapy can give sciatic relief. The aim of the massage is to release the muscles and reduce any muscle spasm. Each person is different so the sciatic massage will be tailored to your needs at the time of treatment.
Sciatica Treatment at Home
- Eating healthy meals and losing weight can help to take the pressure off the lower back and sciatic nerve.
- Yoga or pilates classes can help strengthen the back and abdominal stomach muscles.
- Pain relief exercises can help with the sciatic pain. Make sure you have a yoga mat or a comfortable firm floor to perform these exercises. If there is any pain, stop and seek advice from a health professional.
How Long Does Sciatica Last
Most sciatica improves within a few weeks. If you lose control of your bladder or bowels or you have severe pain, weakness of your muscles, or numbness, seek medical attention immediately.
When the symptoms are severe an MRI or CT scan may be necessary to pinpoint the cause of the sciatica.
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