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Sciatica - Symptoms, Treatment & Risk!

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, Diploma In Orthopaedics (D. Ortho), DNB - Orthopedics/Orthopedic Surgery
Orthopedic Doctor, Delhi  •  18years experience
Sciatica - Symptoms, Treatment & Risk!

Do you experience regular pain starting from your lower back that travels down the buttock and to your legs? If you do, you may be suffering from a condition called sciatica. Even though the pain from sciatica can affect both your legs, in most cases, it only affects one side. Sciatica affects you when the sciatic nerve is compressed. This can be due to a tumour or some other disease that affects you.

Sciatica: Risk Factors

Here is a look at some of the risk factors that increase your chances of suffering from sciatica.

  1. Age- With age, the bones in your spinal column start to become weak. This causes bone spurs and herniated disks, resulting in sciatica.

  2. Obesity- Being over weight can increase the pressure on your spinal column, leading to the pressure on the sciatic nerve.

  3. Job- Some jobs are physically stressful. If your job requires you to lift heavy loads or involves driving for prolonged periods, it can cause sciatica.

  4. Diabetes- Diabetes affects the way in which your body deals with glucose in the bloodstream. This can cause nerve damage over time and lead to sciatica.

Symptoms of sciatica-

The primary symptom of sciatica is a pain that originates in your lower back and travels down through your buttocks and into your thigh and calf muscles. This pain can vary from one affected person to the next. Some people feel mild pain, while others experience extreme discomfort. Furthermore, sneezing and coughing can intensify the pain.

If you remain seated for a long time, you can start to feel the pain from sciatica. Other symptoms for the disease include

Treating sciatica-

In most cases, sciatica does not require treatment. It may disappear on its own after some days. In these cases, there is no permanent nerve damage as well. However, some people may have recurring episodes of sciatica, which may result in permanent nerve damage. In these cases, you should seek immediate treatment for the condition.

Treatment for sciatica relies on four main methods. Here is a look at these four options.

  • Medications- Medicines help deal with the pain from sciatica. Doctors prescribe anti-inflammatories, narcotics, muscle relaxants, anti-seizure drugs, tricyclic antidepressants for the treatment of sciatica.

  • Physical therapy- After the medicine reduces pain from Sciatica, you will need to undergo physical therapy. These sessions will focus on preventing future episodes of the disorder by strengthening your muscles and improving your overall posture.

  • Steroid injections- Steroid injections into the affected nerve will help relieve some of the pain. However, it is a temporary solution and the pain returns after a couple of months. Furthermore, side effects from such injections are high.

  • Surgery- This is the last resort when all other treatment option fails to show the desired results. Doctors perform the surgery to relieve the stress on the sciatic nerve and remove bone spurs.

If you experience pain radiating down from your lower back, avoid taking over-the-counter pain medications. Instead, visit a doctor to check whether it is sciatica.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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