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Sciatica refers to the pain one experiences due to the irritation or compression of nerve roots contributing to formation of Sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the body, running from the lower back, down to the back of each leg. The pain can occur in the lower back and spread to the hips, buttocks and leg. Sciatica generally affects one side of the body. There are numerous causes of irritation of the sciatic nerve and sciatica.
Some of them are:
- Spinal Stenosis: The narrowing of the spinal canal caused by natural wear and tear of the vertebrae (individual bones in the spine protecting underlying nerves) of the spine is known as spinal stenosis. The narrowing may put pressure on the roots of the sciatic nerve, causing pain.
- Herniated Disc: A disc is made up of cartilage and acts as a cushion between vertebrae, allowing flexibility of the spine. A herniated or slipped disc occurs when a disc is temporarily pushed out of place, putting pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Spondylolisthesis: It is a condition where one of the lower vertebrae slips forward over another. This also causes a collapse of the disc space between both, causing the nerve to get pinched. This may cause sciatica.
- Piriformis Syndrome: Piriformis is a muscle found deep inside the buttocks, which connects the lower spine to the upper thighbone, running directly over the sciatic nerve. Spasming of this muscle can pressurize the sciatic nerve, triggering symptoms of sciatica.
- Sacroilitis: Sacroillac joints are the place where the lower spine meets the pelvis and inflammation of one or both of these joints causes sacroilitis. This can give rise to symptoms of sciatica as it causes pain in the lower back, buttocks and legs.
- Spinal tumors: Very rarely, tumors growing inside or along the spine may put pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Infection or injury: Muscle inflammation, infections, fractures or any other spinal injury may lead to irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant women may suffer from sciatica due to weight gain, expansion of the uterus or increased fluid retention or other changes occurring in the body, which put pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Other causes: Osteoarthritis and fractures caused by osteoporosis may also affect the sciatic nerve, producing symptoms of sciatica.
For many people, back pain seems like an unavoidable discomfort. But you may have more control than you think.
You can wreck your back in any number of ways, but a few major offenders stand out: Not stretching, not paying attention to your movements, and years of wear and tear, says Nick Shamie, MD, associate professor of orthopedic neurosurgery at UCLA and a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Here are five habits that put your spine at risk and simple strategies to stop them before the damage is done.
Back Wrecker #1: Weekend Warfare
'Most often, I see people who injured themselves during a weekend basketball game or a round of golf,' Shamie says. 'These people think they're athletes, but don't train like the pros, and as a result, their backs suffer.'
SLIDESHOW 10 Health Myths Debunked Start
Tackling those 'Honey Do' lists at home can also set you up for injury, especially if you were idle for most of the week. Cleaning out the garage, bending over a workbench, or spending hours in the yard or garden can be just as hard on your back as anything you do on a playing field.
Prevent it:'The only preventive solution I've found for back pain is exercise,' says Michael Hisey, MD, orthopedic surgeon and president of the Texas Back Institute in Denton, Texas. 'The fix is to stretch and strengthen your core muscles.'
The obliques -- the abdominal muscles on your sides -- are especially important for back stability, Hisey tells WebMD.
Hisey's tip: Get an inflatable exercise ball. Use it in your workouts and sit on it, instead of a chair, to engage your abs.
Back Wrecker #2: Poor Lifting Technique
'Improper bending and lifting causes back injury; that's all there is to it,' says Dan McMackin, a spokesman for UPS.
Prevent it: Engage your abs to help support your back. Here are the basic principles that UPS uses for safe lifting, according to McMackin:
Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Don't bend at your waist.
Keep the object close to you. The farther away you hold it from your body, the more it stresses your back.
Never hold an item higher than your armpit or lower than your knees.
Don't move something that weighs more than 20% of your body weight.
Don't pivot, twist, or turn while lifting. Point your feet at the item you're lifting and face it as you pick it up. Change direction with your feet, not your waist.
Back Wrecker #3: Absentmindedness During Daily Activity
Simple tasks like taking out the trash or washing the dishes can get your spine bent out of shape if your body isn't ready.
'The movement doesn't necessarily have to be exaggerated or involve a heavy object,' Hisey says. 'You can hurt your back grabbing a paperclip off the floor or loading the dishwasher.'
And if your mind is running on auto-pilot instead of focusing on what you're doing, you could be in trouble.
'At UPS, we've seen a higher proportion of injuries occur at the end of the shift, due to fatigue of the mind and body,' McMackin says.
Prevent it: Train yourself to keep your core muscles engaged.
SLIDESHOW : Surprising Reasons You're in PainStart
A simple way to do that is to pull your navel toward your spine and imagine you're wearing a corset that pulls the sides of your abs inward. Doing that throughout the day -- and especially when lifting or bending -- strengthens and supports your back, says Esther Gokhale, author of8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back and owner of Esther Gokhale Wellness Center in Palo Alto, Calif.
Back Wreckers #4 and #5: Commuting and Computing
You sit, and you sit, and you sit some more -- at work, while driving, and in front of the TV. And your back doesn't like it. Here's why.
Your discs are spongy and cushion the vertebrae in your spine, but discs have poor blood supply, Hisey says. When you move, fluid circulates through the discs. When you sit still, the fluid is wrung out, so you're depriving discs of nutrition, he says. Spending so much time behind the wheel of a car or sitting in front of a computer adds mileage to our discs, which leads to stress in your back.
'The discs in your spine are nourished by motion,' Hisey says. 'So sitting still is hard on your back and neck, and can do long-term damage.' Studies have also shown that sitting puts more pressure on your spine than lying down or standing up.
'The worst posture is sitting and leaning forward,' Shamie says. This makes you lock your pelvis and flex your spine, putting pressure on the front of the vertebrae, where your discs are. The more you arch forward and exaggerate the curve of the spine, the more pressure you're putting on your discs. 'This uneven pressure on a disc puts it at high risk of rupture,' Shamie explains.
Back Wreckers #4 and #5: Commuting and Computing continued...
Prevent it: You're going to sit. So try these tactics to lessen its impact on your back:
Get up and move at least once every 20 minutes, unless you're driving. Set your screen saver to remind you; make a habit of going for a drink of water; when you answer the phone, stand up to stretch and change positions.
Keep your spine properly aligned by holding reading material at eye level (when sitting or standing) rather than bending over. Don't lean over a desk or table to work. Whenever possible, your spine should be straight.
Choose a chair that supports your back. Adjust the chair so that your feet stay flat on the floor. If the chair doesn't support your lower back's curve, place a rolled towel or small pillow behind your lower back. Remove anything from your back pockets, especially a wallet, if you'll be seated for long periods of time because this puts your spine out of alignment.
Gokhale suggests doing the following exercises to help lengthen your spine:
Get on your hands and knees. Reach your left arm straight ahead and straighten your right leg behind you. Use your stomach muscles to stabilize. Hold for 5-10 seconds and slowly return to starting position. Switch arm and leg. Repeat 3-5 times on each side.
Sit tall, lengthen your spine, and let your shoulders relax. Concentrate on squeezing your shoulder blades together, keeping your arms hanging at your sides. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then release. Repeat 10-20 times.
Sir I am suffering with knee problem please provide me solution I have taken pain killer tablets also but no use.
I have severe back pain, in morning pain becomes more and also coming down to under the foot ,tried physiotherapy, what is another remedy?
I have back pain in back bone and I can not seat for longer time, can you tell me the solution of this?
My friend was standing near a wall by it's support and suddenly the edge of wall strike his lower spine near the buttocks. He his having pain in the upper buttock region and in sitting and sleeping. How to know if he has developed a photo or he has problem in the bone near the upper buttock? And how to cure it?
I am suffering from knee pain since 2 weeks as I suffered form calf muscle cramp As I'm a regular player of volleyball I hope of positive medication.
She has also gone through paralysis attack twice. But there is no relief In back pain. Please advise.
Tips for backache:
Heavy objects should be pushed rather than pulled.
The weight of the objects should be taken in your bent legs and arms and not in your back.
During an acute attack sleep with a pillow under the knees.
Choose shoes that offer good support in the arch and have low, but not flat, heels.
Prop up one foot on a box or low stool when you're standing for a long time.
Use a chair that provides support for your back, or tuck a little pillow behind your lower back.
Tips to improve balance/alignment/motion:
Lift your leg so your thigh is parallel to the ground while touching a wall. Hold it for five breaths.
For alignment, move side to side while sitting on a balance ball.
For motion, try moving forward and backward on the ball.
I have noticed some swelling on my back for the past few days. It gets okay if I put some iodex or spray. I feel that I might have pulled the muscle or is it a side effect of statin? The inflammation is on one side of the back below the shoulder.
Sir, My grandmother suffering from diabetes n high blood pressure from now a day she having problems in joints n its pain a lot she crys sometimes. So tell me what to do.
Also known as Adhesive causalities and Periarthritis.
A stiff, painful shoulder with progressive limitation of movement. Sign and symptoms begin gradually, worsen over time.
Usually occurs on one side. Sometimes it can spread to the other shoulder. Some idiopathic facts for frozen shoulder-It happens mostly to people aged in 40’s,50’s and 60’s.
Women get their frozen shoulder much more commonly than men.
Causes-We can classify in two groups
1) Primary-No significant reason for pain and stiffness.
2) Secondary- may be due to synovitis, rupture of the capsule, subacromial bursitis or a lesion in the muscle complex round the joint particularly in the supraspinatus. There may be history of trauma, your arm in a sling for long time immobilized in a specific position for a prolonged period.
Other ailments are-Heart or lung problems can be linked to cause shoulder pain. Cardiac surgery has sometimes lead to
frozen shoulder. Lung problems like tuberculosis or tumor. Diabetes is a common associated condition with frozen shoulder
Symptoms-Symptoms are variable depending on the cause. Pain is the usual presenting feature and may be accompanied by muscle spasm and limitation of movement. The onset can be acute. When the condition is sub acute or chronic, pain and stiffness are most marked after a period of inactivity and may be eased by moderate exercise. Tender areas may be present. Pain often worst at night and when lying on the affected side. Patient has difficulty with normal daily tasks such as dressing, preparing food, carrying bags and working. Muscle wastage may be evident due to lack of use. According to ayuveda- frozen shoulder is known as Ababahuka. Ayurvedda described-80 Types of Vata nanatamaja roja (caused by vitiation of vata dosha). Ababahuka is also a vata nanatmaja roga. Vitiated vata dosha absorbs the fluid (kapha) of the joint cause to Ababahuka.
Treatment-It is essential to carry out a careful clinical examination as many diseases of diverse origin frequently present with musculoskeletal symptoms.
Injection of steroid into the joint to reduce inflammation
Nerve block a short term pain relief option
Surgery if the above fails
Ayurveda treatment- If frozen shoulder caused by secondary group than the other ailments- the Panchkarma and Kerala therapy is very effective. The aim of the Ayurveda treatment is to bring vitiated vata in equilibrium.
Most popular kerala therapy is pizhichil means squeezing of medicated oil with the help of cotton cloth all over the body with full concentration on shoulder along with different stroke of massage. It is a process of fomentation, highly effective for treating diseases caused by vitiation of vata dosha. Duration of treatment varies according to the severity of symptoms of the patient.
Elakizhi- Special herbal pack massage withPizhichil gives strength to the muscle and improves the mobility of shoulder joint.
Nasyam –popular panch karma therapy for all urdhvajatrugata roga, It is a powerful rejuvenating therapy.
Requirement of Therapy -7,14,21 days therapy course depending on the severity of symptoms along with oral medicines for 3-4months.