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Sciatica is defined as pain or discomfort associated with the sciatic nerve which runs from the lower back, down the back of the legs to the feet. It most commonly occurs in adults aged 20 to 60 years. It is estimated that up to 40% of the new zealand population will experience sciatica at some point in their lives.
The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the body. It originates in the lower spine, branches into the pelvis, then travels through the buttocks, down the back of the legs and branches into the lower legs and feet. Sciatic pain occurs when there is pressure on, or damage to, the sciatic nerve.
The most common cause of sciatica is disc prolapse (also known as disc herniation or slipped disc). This occurs when one of the soft, gel-filled discs between the vertebrae of the spine bulges or ruptures, compressing and/or irritating the sciatic nerve.
Muscle spasms can also cause sciatica by compressing the sciatic nerve as it travels through the muscles. One such condition is piriformis syndrome, where the piriformis muscle irritates the sciatic nerve. Other less common causes of sciatica include:
In older age groups, sciatica commonly occurs as the result of conditions caused by spinal degeneration, such as spinal stenosis. This is where the pathways through which the sciatic nerve travels are narrowed. Again, this causes compression and/or irritation of the sciatic nerve.
Factors that increase the likelihood of developing sciatica include.
- Being overweight
- Jobs that involve twisting of the back or carrying heavy loads
- Sitting for long periods.
Essentially, any injury or process which causes compression of the sciatic nerve can cause sciatic pain. In many cases however, no specific cause for the sciatic pain can be identified.
Signs and symptoms.
- The pain caused by sciatica can range from being mild to very severe. It can occur suddenly or have a gradual onset. Sciatic pain is commonly described as a cramp-like pain that can be burning or sharp in nature. It may be associated with sensations such as pins and needles, tingling, numbness and weakness.
- Sciatic pain is typically felt in the lower back and hip and radiates down the back of one leg. The characteristic that distinguishes it from other types of back pain is that the pain travels below the knee. The pain may be aggravated by specific actions, such as sneezing, coughing, lifting or sitting.
- Pain and symptoms are usually most severe in the early stages of the condition, when compression and inflammation of the sciatic nerve are at their greatest. It is common for the pain to gradually reduce after this time until it resolves completely - usually within four to eight weeks.
- In rare cases compression of the sciatic nerve can be so severe that there is progressive weakness in the legs and/or loss of bowel and bladder function. If these symptoms are experienced, medical attention should be sought immediately as they can signal severe nerve damage.
I have heavy weight due to this I had always pain in my back and foot why what is the reason behind this.
Go for regular exercises for your back and get rid of from back pain.
I am having a lot of pain in spinal cord after c section delivery what is the home treatment or exercise.
I have a back pain in last 3 months, I am 30 years old now, have i got any relief. What should I do now?
Hi I am 27 years old male from up. Since my childhood I am facing problem regarding my legs when I walk my legs feeling a jhatka like my walking style is different to others every one who see says that r you having any problem into your legs I feel very bad now I have gone to many doctors but problem is as itis please give me any solution or any famous Dr. for bones.
I am 25 year old male and have backache in last two months. I have used pain relief ointment cream for couple of days but have not got any relief. What should I do now?
Doctor my son 3+ his waight 10. His both knees pain sleeping time at night. But he his active. We counseled to locol doctors. They asked us he is normal pain. Wt we do.
Hello, I woke up one morning with every finger aching, and one continued aching for now about 7 months and it goes blue and purple and hurt alot, mostly when it is cold weather, could you tell me what this could be? Its my left pointing finger middle knuckle, its swollen up big as well, bigger then my other knuckles and it cramps.
You probably spend a whole day working at your office when your back remains in the same position. Then when you come back from work, you complain about your back pain, put some medicine and hope it goes away the next day. However, in such cases there are chances that the pain might return after a few days. You may not be aware of the fact, but there are certain fairly simple exercises you can do to strengthen your back and prevent back pain. Here are some of them.
1.Opposite arm leg raises
Lie on your stomach with one arm in the air as your starting position. Then finish the exercise by slowly lifting your leg. Hold this position for two seconds and then repeat this for the other arm and leg as well.
2. Prone hold
Hold a posture where you are holding your entire body weight on just your toes and your elbows for as long as it is pain-free.
Lie on your belly with your arms above your head. Slowly lift your arms and legs from this position as far as possible and then put it down again. Repeat this as many times as you can do it in a pain free way. Once again, it is imperative to not do this when it is painful as you may get injured.
4. Side holds
To do this, you have to be on your side putting your entire body weight on the side of your foot and your elbow. Hold it for as long as you can maintain the correct posture and it is pain free for you.
5. Resistance band rotation
Stand straight up or on your knees with your back straight up. Then using a resistance band rotate your body back and forth.
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