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Overview

Sciatica - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

Sciatica is the pain that occurs in the large sciatic nerve that runs from our lower back down through the back of the legs. It’s a disease that causes severe and debilitating pain. Sciatica pain that originates in the lower back moves down and travels through our buttocks along the path of the sciatic nerve, behind our legs causing numbness, tingling sensation or weakness. Anatomically speaking, this nerve is the largest single nerve in our body and constitutes of individual nerve roots that starts by spreading out from our spine in the lower back and then assimilate to form the ‘sciatic nerve’. The symptoms of this disease arise, when this large nerve gets compressed or irritated at or near its point of origin.

Patients suffering from sciatica pain are rarely aged below 20. This disease is commonplace in middle age people who are between the ages of 40-50. While sciatica pain is often loosely used to describe all kinds of leg pains, but researchers estimate that up to 43 percent of the global population gets affected with this disease, at some times in their lives. Although pain from a pinched nerve can be debilitating, but most of the patients suffering from sciatica, find themselves feeling better with medication, within a few weeks or months.

Sciatica is a condition that seldom occurs because of a particular injury, but rather this painful condition develops over time.

The following 6 lower back medical issues are the most common causes of sciatica:

  • Lumbar herniated disc
  • Isthmic spondylolisthesis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis and
  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

In addition to the above stated 6 most common causes, a number of other conditions can also cause sciatica, which includes:

  • Pregnancy
  • Scar tissue
  • Muscle strain
  • Spinal tumor
  • Infection in the lower back
  • Fracture in the lumbar vertebra and also
  • Ankylosing spondylitis

Sciatica can be treated both surgically and non-surgically. There are a wide range of options that are available for nonsurgical sciatica treatment, such as, ice and heat compression on the affected site, ingesting over-the-counter pain medications and injecting epidural steroid injection for relieving acute pain. Usually all these treatments are prescribed in conjunction with specific exercises. In addition, these common medical treatments, a wide number of alternative treatments have also proved effective for many patients for alleviating this pain. Some of the most accepted forms of alternate care for treating sciatica includes acupuncture therapy, chiropractic manipulation, massage and cognitive behavior therapy.

Treatable by medical professional Require medical diagnosis Lab test sometimes required Short-term: resolves within days to weeks Non communicable
Symptoms
Constant pain that remains on any one side of the buttock, but seldom on both sides. Pain originates in the low back and continuing to travel along the path of the sciatic nerve- down through the back of the thigh and into the lower part of the leg and foot. Pain often feels better when lying down or while walking, but worsens when sitting or standing. Pain is not a dull pain, rather, it’s a searing and sharp agony. Numbness, prickling and a pin-and-needle sensation that travels down the leg.

Popular Health Tips

Sciatica - When Do You Have To Go For Surgery?

Dr. Dhruv Chaturvedi 88% (10 ratings)
MCh - Neurosurgery, MS-General Surgery, MBBS
Neurosurgeon, Delhi
Sciatica - When Do You Have To Go For Surgery?
Sciatica pain can be mild to intense. Many with lumbar herniated disc and sciatica often wonder whether or not they require a surgery. Needless to say, it is never an easy decision. But the good news is that micro discectomy surgery has a higher rate of success when it comes to relieving sciatica pain. When compared to many other options, this one is relatively minimally invasive. It doesn t alter the structure of the spine permanently since it works by removing a small portion of the disc, which has herniated or extruded out of the disc. When your sciatica pain stems from lumbar disc herniation, a small open surgery with the help of magnification is the prevalently opted surgical approach. On the other hand, a laminectomy is done when the bone or disc pinching the nerve root is required to be removed. When should you consider undergoing surgery for sciatica? Typically, neurosurgeons recommend considering surgery for sciatica in a host of situations which include the following: Severe pain in the leg lingering for more than six weeks, which mainly affects one side of the leg or buttock Intense pain in the low back and buttock, which continues through the course of the sciatic nerve andextends to the lower leg and even foot. This pain can be described as sharp and searing rather than a dull thud. When pain has not alleviated even after non-surgical treatments that may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),oral steroids, injections, manual manipulations, and physical therapy When the patient is not able to take part in the day to day activities due to intense lower back pain and the symptoms tend to become severe during movements like sneeze and cough. When the symptoms are continuing to worsen, thereby indicating nerve damage, particularly when the progressive signs have their root in neurological issues It is important to note here that surgical intervention may only be needed when the patient experiences progressive weakness in the lower portion of the body or sudden loss of bladder or bowel movement, which may stem from cauda equina syndrome. Two surgeries, namely lumbar laminectomy and microdiscectomy are performed on the basis of the cause as well as the duration of the sciatica pain. In some cases, the symptoms are unique on the basis of the underlying causes of sciatica. For instance, trying to bend the body backward or walking a longer distance than normal may trigger unbearable symptoms. On the other hand, when the affected individual tries to bend the body forward, it can lead to symptoms stemming from the lumbar herniated disc. In case sciatica occurs after an accident, injury or trauma, or if it happens in tandem with other symptoms, then it requires an immediate medical attention. Thus, choosing to go for a surgery depends on several factors that only your doctor can assess and decide upon.

Sciatic Nerve Compression Pain - Homeopathic Treatment For It!

Dr. Shiladitya Mukherjee 89% (189 ratings)
DHMS (Diploma in Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery), MD.homoeopathy
Homeopath, Chinsurah
Sciatic Nerve Compression Pain - Homeopathic Treatment For It!
Sciatica nerve is the longest nerve of our body, which starts from the spinal cord, passes through the lower back and into the lower leg. Sciatica is a symptom of pain in the sciatic nerve which occurs if it is being compressed by any mass, irritated or overgrowth along its course. Symptoms Patients with sciatica experience severe pain along their back as well as may suffer from additional symptoms including numbness and weakness, a feeling of tingling and pins and needles on the foot or toes. In severe cases, some people may also suffer from loss of bladder and bowel control. Causes One of the most common reasons is the pinching of the nerve due to a slipped disc in the lower back. Other conditions which cause sciatica are trauma to the spine, spondylolisthesis, spinal tumors and lumbar vertebral canal stenosis. Prevention One of the easiest ways to prevent sciatica is by protecting your lower spine. You can follow these easy tips that can be really helpful in maintaining your health and remaining pain free. Exercising regularly: By exercising regularly, patients can strengthen their back and abdominal muscles and prevent damage to their vertebral column. Good posture: By maintaining a good posture while sitting and working in an ergonomically designed chair that properly supports your hips and back and does not compress the back of your thighs and knees while sitting is essential to maintain a healthy back. Treatment Homeopathy offers natural medicines that can cure and reduce sciatica pain. One of the biggest advantages that homoeopathy offers for treating sciatica is that it can treat the disease effectively, by rectifying the compression or irritation on the sciatic nerve. Homeopathy practitioners use Colocynth for treatment caused in right sided sciatica pain. Homeopathic medicine Gnaphlium is used to treat numbness associated with the paint, while Rhus tox is usually helpful in treating all sciatica symptoms and is the most preferred medicine by homeopathic practitioners. Homeopathy also offers additional benefits as it not only helps in rectifying sciatica pain it also help in strengthening a patient s constitution so that the disease is cured from its roots and there are no further recurrences. Homeopathic medicine is very fast and effective and is totally natural, free from any side effects. It is one of the most widely accepted forms of medicine which causes no side effects and can be taken easily by both men and women. A good numbers of other effective homeopathy medicines are available along with the said medicines, so it is always recommended to consult a practitioner.
5 people found this helpful

Reasons Behind Sciatica Pain!

Dr. Prem Kumari 90% (319 ratings)
BPT, MPT - Orthopedic Physiotherapy
Physiotherapist, Sangrur
Reasons Behind Sciatica Pain!
Sciatica is a very common neuropathic pain that is caused by damage to the sciatic nerve, a large nerve that runs from the lower back region down the end of each leg. It is the largest single nerve in the body. This condition affects around 4 out of 10 people at some point of their lives. The nature of the pain varies from a mild ache to a sharp stinging sensation and may cause feelings of numbness and extreme weakness. The causes for the onset of sciatica are numerous. Some of them are as follows: -Slipped lumbar disc -Muscle inflammation -Internal bleeding -Pregnancy -Obesity -Awkward sleeping position -Uncomfortable footwear -Spinal injury How can physical therapy help? There are many ways of treating sciatica such as medication, acupuncture and surgery, which can provide relief. The most common and easy treatment method however is physical therapy. A progressive and controlled exercise routine that is specifically tailored to the nature of the condition in consultation with a physical therapist acts as an effective remedy in treating the problem. It alleviates pain and also eliminates the chances of relapse. Physical therapy exercises used to treat sciatica are of many types. These are a combination of core strengthening, muscular stretching and aerobic conditioning routines, which aim at correcting the root of the problem. The different types of exercises employed to treat sciatica include the following: Strengthening exercises These aim at strengthening the spinal column and the pelvic region, which includes the hips and buttocks. They help in making the muscles and ligaments in this region more robust and allow for improved flexibility and support. Lunges and squats are some of the examples. Stretching exercises These provide pain relief through improved agility and flexibility. The most important aspect of these routines is stretching and exercising the hamstring. Hamstring, stretches, calf stretches and tricep stretches are a part of stretching exercises. Aerobic conditioning These are cardiovascular exercises of low intensity, which provide pain relief through the release of endorphins and the facilitation of fluid and nutrient exchange. Examples of these are swimming and brisk walking.
1 person found this helpful

What Is Piriformis Syndrome?

Dr. Vishwas Virmani 91% (15485 ratings)
BPTh/BPT, MPTh/MPT
Physiotherapist, Noida
What Is Piriformis Syndrome?
A common symptom of piriformis syndrome is pain along the sciatic nerve, so it is often thought that piriformis syndrome causes sciatica. However, piriformis syndrome does not involve a radiculopathy - a disc extending beyond its usual location in the vertebral column that impinges or irritates the nerve root - so it is technically not sciatica.Instead, with piriformis syndrome, it is the piriformis muscle itself that irritates the sciatic nerve and causes sciatic pain.See What is Piriformis Syndrome? The piriformis is a muscle located deep in the hip that runs in close proximity to the sciatic nerve. When the piriformis muscle becomes tight and/or inflamed, it can cause irritation of the sciatic nerve. This irritation leads to sciatica-like pain, tingling and numbness that run from the lower back, to the rear and sometimes down the leg and into the foot. Supine piriformis stretches Lie on the back with the legs flat. Pull the affected leg up toward the chest, holding the knee with the hand on the same side of the body and grasping the ankle with the other hand. Trying to lead with the ankle, pull the knee towards the opposite ankle until stretch is felt. Do not force ankle or knee beyond stretch. Hold stretch for 30 seconds, then slowly return to starting position. Aim to complete a set of three stretches.Lie on the floor with the legs flat. Raise the affected leg and place that foot on the floor outside the opposite knee. Pull the knee of the bent leg directly across the midline of the body using the opposite hand or a towel, if needed , until stretch is felt. Do not force knee beyond stretch or to the floor. Hold stretch for 30 seconds, then slowly return to starting position. Aim to complete a set of three stretches.Lie on the floor with the affected leg crossed over the other leg at the knees and both legs bent. Gently pull the lower knee up towards the shoulder on the same side of the body until stretch is felt. Hold stretch for 30 seconds, then slowly return to starting position. Aim to complete a set of three stretches. Typical features of any sciatica exercise program include:Core muscle strength. Many sciatica exercises serve to strengthen the abdominal and back muscles in order to provide more support for the back. Stretching exercises for sciatica target muscles that cause pain when they are tight and inflexible. When patients engage in a regular program of gentle strengthening and stretching exercises, they can recover more quickly from a flare up of sciatica and are less likely to experience future episodes of pain.Specific diagnosis. Most exercise programs will be tailored to address the underlying cause of the patient's sciatic pain, such as a lumbar herniated disc or spinal stenosis. Doing the wrong type of exercise can worsen the sciatic pain, so it is important to get an accurate diagnosis prior to starting a program of sciatica exercises. 1. Piriformis Stretch Laying on your back, place both feet flat on the floor with knees bent. Rest your right ankle over the left knee and pull the left thigh toward your chest.Hold stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.Remember to keep the top foot flexed to protect your knee. 2. Seated Hip Stretch While in a seated position, cross your right leg over your straightened left leg.Hug your right knee with your left arm, making sure to keep your back straight.Hold this stretch for 30-60 seconds, and then repeat on the opposite side. 3. Pigeon Pose Start in Downward-Facing Dog pose with your feet together. Draw your right knee forward and turn it out to the right so your right leg is bent and your left leg is extended straight behind you. Slowly lower both legs.Hold the position for five to ten breaths, then switch to the other side. 4. Self-Trigger Point Therapy Performing self trigger-point therapy using a lacrosse or tennis ball can be very effective at delivering sciatica pain relief.All you have to do is find a painful spot in the glutes, place the ball at that location and then relax your body into the ball.Hold this position for 30-60 seconds or until you notice a significant reduction in pain. Move to the next painful spot. The total time spent on this exercise should be between 5-10 minutes. Practicing these four exercises once or twice a day can definitely bring you much needed sciatica pain relief.

Know Your Back or Lumbar Spine

Dr. Vishwas Virmani 91% (15485 ratings)
BPTh/BPT, MPTh/MPT
Physiotherapist, Noida
Know Your Back or Lumbar Spine
If we look at the human backbone or spine , we can see that the vertebrae rest upon one another similarly to a stack of cotton spools . The spine is divided into regions. There are seven vertebrae in the cervical region (neck), twelve vertebrae in the thoracic region (upper back), and five vertebrae in the lumbar region (lower back) .. Beneath the lumbar vertebrae are found the sacrum and the coccyx. It is the lower back or lumbar and sacral regions that concern us most. Each vertebra has a solid part in front, the vertebral body, and a hole in the back .When lined up as in the spinal column, these holes form the spinal canal. This canal serves as a protected passageway for the bundle of nerves which extends from head to pelvis-the spinal .Special cartilages, called the discs, separate the vertebrae. The discs are located between the vertebral bodies just in front of the spinal cord . Each disc consists of a soft semi-fluid centre part, the nucleus, which is surrounded and held together by a cartilage ring, the annulus or annular ligament. The discs are similar to rubber washers and act as shock absorbers. The are able to alter their shape, thus allowing movement of one vertebra on another and of the back as a whole.The vertebrae and discs are linked by a series of joints to form the lumbar spine or low back. Each joint is held together by its surrounding soft tissues-that is, a capsule reinforced by ligaments.Ligaments can be likened to the stays that hold a mast in place on a sailing ship. If a stay were to give way, the mast will likely fall when subjected to extra strains. Muscles lie over one or more joints of the low back and may extend upward to the trunk and downward to the pelvis. At both ends each muscle changes into a tendon by which it attaches itself to different bones. When a muscle contracts, it causes movement in one or more joints.Between each two vertebrae there is a small opening on either side through which a nerve leaves the spinal canal, the right and left spinal nerve . Amongst other tasks, the spinal nerves supply our muscles with power and our skin with sensation. In other words, it is through the nerves that we can move ourselves and feel temperature, pressure and pain. The nerves are really part of our alarm system: pain is the warning that some structure is about to be damaged or has already sustained some damage.In the lower part of the spine some of these nerves combine on each side to form the right and left sciatic nerves. The sciatic nerves service our legs, and when compressed or irritated, they may cause pain in the leg which often extends below the knee. This is then called sciatica. FUNCTIONS OF THE LUMBAR SPINE In animals that walk on all fours, the weight of their body is distributed evenly by DISC their four legs. Most of the time the spine is held in aIl more or less horizontal position and the compressive forces that exist in upright man do not occur. In human beings, the spine is held in a more or vertical position, at least during waking and working hours. When we are upright, , lumbar spine bears the compressive weight of the body above it transmits this weight to the pelvis when sitting and to the feet when standing, walking and running. Thus the lumbar spine, providing flexible connection between the upper and lower half of the body protects the spinal cord and also has a greater function in weight bearing. In the evolution of the horizontal-spine posture of animals to the vertical-spine posture of man, the discs between the vertebrae have adapted to support heavier weights. In addition, the spinal column has developed a series of curves that ingeniously allow for better shock absorption and flexibility.
1 person found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

my age is 34 I am suffering with sciatica never problem if I journey 30 km pain will be saviour please tell me solution.

Dr. Vishwas Virmani 91% (15485 ratings)
MPT, BPT
Physiotherapist, Noida
Apply Hot Fomentation twice daily. Avoid bending in front. Postural Correction- Sit Tall, Walk Tall. Extension Exercises x 15 times x twice daily - lying on tummy, take left arm up for 3 seconds, then bring it down, right arm up for 3 seconds, bring down. Bring right leg up, hold for 3 seconds, bring it down. Then right leg up and hold for 3 seconds and bring it down. Repeat twice a day- 10 times. Bhujang Asana -- Lie flat on your stomach, keeping the palms out, bend the neck backward, take a deep breath and while holding it for 6 seconds, raise the chest up. Release breath and relax your body. Repeat the exercise 15 times twice daily.
1 person found this helpful

I am 50 years old suffering from sciatica pain (pain in back knee and beside the cops ie below the knee.

Dr. Vishwas Virmani 91% (15485 ratings)
MPT, BPT
Physiotherapist, Noida
Piriformis Stretch 1. Lie on your back. ... 2. Cross your left leg over your right so that your left ankle rests on your right knee. 3. Use your hands to grab hold of your left knee and pull it gently toward the opposite shoulder. ... 4. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. 5. Relax, and then repeat with the other leg. 6. Repeat this cycle 2 to 4 times.
1 person found this helpful

Hello doctor. I Just want to know is there any harm in using high (double) pillow. If yes then how could this be avoided. Thanks.

Dr. Vishwas Virmani 91% (15485 ratings)
BPTh/BPT, MPTh/MPT
Physiotherapist, Noida
• Take frequent Breaks at work • Use cervical pillow. • Use Back Support. • Self Massage the back of neck.
1 person found this helpful

I have very bad pain in left leg because of sciatica I have three medicines for sciatica Colocynth 30 Rhus Tox 30 Gnaphalium 30 but are these correct? I.e. Which medicine should I prefer? I.e. For example, Rhus Tox 30, Rhus Tox 200 or Rhus Tox 1000?

Dr. Vishwas Virmani 91% (15485 ratings)
BPTh/BPT, MPTh/MPT
Physiotherapist, Noida
Apply Hot Fomentation twice daily. Avoid bending in front. Postural Correction- Sit Tall, Walk Tall. Extension Exercises x 15 times x twice daily - lying on tummy, take left arm up for 3 seconds, then bring it down, right arm up for 3 seconds, bring down. Bring right leg up, hold for 3 seconds, bring it down. Then right leg up and hold for 3 seconds and bring it down. Repeat twice a day- 10 times.
3 people found this helpful

Hi doctor I need urgency Back pain Near to back pain May be joint pains Some of Sciatica or hip pain or piriformis please tell me some exercise I am from Bangalore.

Dr. Pallavi K Kanade 90% (360 ratings)
Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
Ayurveda, Pune
Backache /pain has several reasons like muscle spasm, spine issue, injury etc. Condition may get worst if it keep untreated. Ayurveda is one of most popular treatment for joint pain & backache. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity. Ayurvedic treatment not only gives complete relief from pain it also improves bone strength as well calcium absorption which is essential for all 206 bones & joint. You can easily take an online consultation for further treatment guidance and permanent cure without any side effects.

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