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Sciatica Tips

Know Your Back or Lumbar Spine

Dr. Vishwas Virmani 91% (18099 ratings)
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.

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What Is Piriformis Syndrome?

Dr. Vishwas Virmani 91% (18099 ratings)
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.

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Sciatica Pain - Treatments Options For It!

Dr. K J Choudhury 83% (10 ratings)
MBBS, MD, M.N.A.M.S(Anaesthesiology), FWACS
Pain Management Specialist, Delhi
Sciatica Pain - Treatments Options For It!

Ever faced a nagging low backache that won't go away? You could be dealing with sciatica. Sciatica or sciatic nerve pain is not a diagnosis, but is a symptom of a deeper problem. Sciatica is a pain in the lower limb and back due to compression or inflammation of nerves exiting from the lower vertebrae due to disc prolapse/herniation/ protrusion. Discs in vertebrae provide cushioning to the vertebrae during movement. The spinal nerves of the lower limb emerge from both sides and get inflammed due to disc prolapse. Inflammation can be controlled by depositing anti-inflammatory drugs with a non-surgical technique using fluroscopy, called spinal root block. If the disc prolapse is severe it can cause weakness of the lower limb or difficulty in controlling bladder/ bowel movement, surgery is performed to remove offending disc. Many times symptoms dissolve with nerve medications along with physical therapy.

Conditions that trigger sciatica include degenerative discs, spinal stenosis, a herniated disc in the lumbar region or spondylolisthesis. Whether your sciatica pain is persistent or sporadic, it can make routine tasks difficult to perform. The good news is that there are a number of remedies to ease this pain and improve the health of your spine.

  1. Hot and cold therapy: Sciatic pain that extends down to the thighs can be relieved by alternating between a heat pack and an ice pack. Each pack can be applied for about 20 minutes at a stretch every two hours. However, this does not treat the sciatic nerve itself.
  2. Pain medications and steroid injections: Over the counter pain medication like ibuprofen or muscle relaxants can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. In chronic cases, epidural steroid injections may also be prescribed to address the inflammation and pain. Pain relief provided by medication and steroid injections can last for a few days or a few months depending on the person.
  3. Yoga: Sciatica patients looking for long-term relief often turn towards alternative forms of treatment like yoga. Yoga helps strengthen muscles, increases flexibility and improves posture. This is more beneficial towards preventing sciatica problems from arising than treating ongoing sciatic pain. When practicing yoga with a sciatica problem, it is very important to understand your body's limitations and not overextend your back muscles.
  4. Massage: A massage that treats sciatic pain is very different from the usual massage, you may get at a spa. A massage can be done to relieve sciatic pain involves putting pressure on the inflamed part of the back and the piriformis muscle. This is the muscle is located on the sciatic nerve and can trigger sciatic pain. In most cases, 3 to 4 massage sessions at intervals of 7 to 10 days can have effective results on sciatic pain.
  5. Physical therapy: Sciatica patients often find the slightest movement extremely painful. While lying in a bad is tempting, it can actually worsen the pain. Exercise increases blood flow to the spine and helps flush out toxins. Going for a walk, light aerobics or swimming are ideal ways for a sciatica patient to exercise.
  6. Chiropractic manipulation: This involves realigning the spinal column and is an effective way of treating underlying conditions that trigger sciatic pain. These spinal adjustments should only be performed by licensed chiropractors or osteopathic physicians.
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3 Home Physiotherapy Exercises for Sciatica

Dr. Vishwas Virmani 91% (18099 ratings)
Physiotherapist, Noida
3 Home Physiotherapy Exercises for Sciatica

I   Standing Hip Flexor Stretch

Your hip flexors are a group of muscles responsible for raising your knee to your chest and moving your leg from front to back and side to side. Tight hip flexors are a common cause of low back pain due to their anterior pull on the pelvis.You may want to find more than one hip flexor stretch to work this area from several angles.

1.Stand with your feet staggered, your right leg forward and left leg behind, and both knees bent.Place your hands on your hips,and keep your torso tall and shoulders squared.Move into the stretch by gently lowering your right knee, and raise your left arm overhead.

2.Put most of your weight on the front leg and open the back hip until you feel tension in the left thigh and right hip. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

II  Seated Leg Crossover

The hip muscles are vital to keeping your pelvis and low back strong, flexible,and properly aligned. Weak or tight hip muscles can place more work on the back and lead to pain and injury. Master this basic stretch to build strong muscles in the hips and buttocks.

1.Sit with your left leg extended out in front and your right leg crossed over.Use your left arm to support the right leg. Keep your back tall, spine aligned, and core engaged.With an exhalation, rotate your torso to the right. 

2. Press your right thigh toward your chest and feel the stretch in the outer right hip. Lengthen the spine on the inhalation and rotate slightly more with each exhalation.Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

III   Standing Piriformis Stretch

A tight piriformis can lead to pain in the lower back, buttocks, and leg. This can be caused by overdoing an activity such as running, or even sitting for an extended time. This stretch can be performed on a table or riser that’s close to the height of your hip. Try several positions until you find the one that’s best for you.

1.Lay your right leg as flat as possible on the riser, bending inward so your foot is pointed to the left. Your right knee should be in line with the foot and your hands rest on the riser.

2.Keeping your core tight and back flat,slowly bend forward at the hips. Move as far forward as is comfortable until you feel the stretch in the hips and buttocks.Hold for 15 to 20 seconds.

3.Contract your outer hip muscles by pressing the knee down toward the surface for 5 seconds relax and move further into the stretch. Repeat 2 or 3 times and switch legs.

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3 Easy Home Exercises for Sciatica With Foam Roller

Dr. Vishwas Virmani 91% (18099 ratings)
Physiotherapist, Noida
3 Easy Home Exercises for Sciatica With Foam Roller

I   Glute and Piriformis Foam Roll

Foam rolling helps you make the best use of your time by massaging muscles,improving flexibility, and preventing injury. The muscles of the glutes and piriformis can greatly benefit from this combination, as they’re used frequently throughout the day.

1.Sit with your left legs lightly bent in front of you and your foot on the floor. Cross your right leg over with your right foot resting on your upper left leg, and place the foam roller under your hips.Put your hands on the floor behind you to prop up your upper body.

2.Roll up and down the right side of the hips and buttocks. If you feel a spot that’s tender or tight,spend more time working that particular area. Perform the rolling movement for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

II   Hip Flexor Foam Roll

Targeting the hip flexor muscles utilizing the foam roller is a great way to alleviate tightness and help prevent injury. These muscles are often hard to isolate when strengthening and stretching, but are used readily throughout the day.

1. Lie on your left side with your left leg extended on the floor and your right leg crossed over.Place the foam roller under your outer left hip. Keep your arms in front of you to prop your upper body up off the floor

2. Roll up and down the front and outer part of the left hip. If you feel a spot that’s tender or tight,spend more time working that area. Perform the rolling movement for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

III    Lateral Leg Swing

Many sports require the ability to complete quick lateral moves for success.Use this dynamic stretch to warm up the hip muscles that perform these moves to maximize performance and minimize injury.

1.Lean into a wall or sturdy object for support.Keep your core engaged and back straight. Put your weight on the back leg with a slight bend in the knee.Draw in your abs and raise your right leg.Keeping a bend at the right knee, swing your right leg inward at the hip.

2.Then bring the knee outward across your body, and back to the start position in a continuous sequence. Do this 8 to 12 times,and then repeat using the other leg.

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3 Best Stretches for Sciatica

Dr. Vishwas Virmani 91% (18099 ratings)
Physiotherapist, Noida
3 Best Stretches for Sciatica

I    Advanced Piriformis Stretch

An excellent stretch for the entire body, this pose especially targets the hips and piriformis muscle but is only for those who have sufficient flexibility.When performed properly, this stretch can help prevent injury and relieve pain through increased range of motion

1.Keeping your torso upright, extend your left leg behind and bend your right leg inward across the front of your body.Lower your torso to the floor until you feel the stretch in the hips and glutes. 

2.Keep your lower body in the start position with your arms out in front for support.Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

II    IT Band and Glute Rope Stretch

If you’re prone to IT band syndrome or runner’s knee, this is a good stretch for you. When this band gets tight, bad things can happen to your gait, not to mention a lot of pain and suffering.

1.Lie on your back with both legs extended and the rope wrapped around the mid sole of your right foot. Hold both sides of the rope in your left hand, and extend your right arm to the side.

2.Keeping your right leg extended, pull the rope to the left side to bring the right leg across the body until you feel a stretch in the outer leg. Your right arm and left leg shouldn’t leave the floor. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

III  Adductor Rope Stretch

The hip adductors play a big role in everyday movements such as walking and sitting down. They provide stability to the hip joint, allowing better performance in physical activities. Having good range of motion in these muscles is critical for an active lifestyle.

1. Lie fully extended on your back with the rope around the middle of the right foot. Take both ends of the rope over the inside of the ankle and wrap it around to the outside of the calf.Hold both ends of the rope in your right hand. 

2.Pull out to the right as far as is comfortable, feeling the stretch along the inside of the right leg. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

Endoscopic Discectomy - Pin Hole Stitchless Techniques

Dr. Sanjay Sharma 86% (287 ratings)
Fellowship in Interventional Pain management , Diploma in Anesthesia, DA, MBBS
Pain Management Specialist, Jaipur
Endoscopic Discectomy - Pin Hole Stitchless Techniques

What's pivd?
Also called as slipdisc pain or sciatica may affect your lumbar or cervical or throracic spine. But most common is l4 5and l5-s1 level or c5-6 level.
Most of painful condition of pertaining to your spine due to bulge, prolapse (protrusion), extrusion, sequestration. In with all condition nucleus pulposus come out from it originally site. Causing pressure over traversing or exiting nerve roots. Most of time patient getting treatment for of slipdisc or sciatica etc without any radiological evidence.

What causes pivd?
*unwanted prolonged exposure to sitting posture
*acute forward flexion
*unwanted weight lifting
*trauma or accident
*overweight body
*undesirable exercise
*keep on exercise for chronic pain condition

What is symptoms?
Paresthesia, numbness, tingling sensation, burning sensation, spasms in thigh's and calf muscles, radiating pain upto knee or foot. Unable to sitting or standing for long hours, bowl or bladder incontinence, motor power affected

What are basic investigation?
X-rays only show alignment and fracture and displacement of vertebrae,
Mri scan shows all soft and hard structure of spine-all disc, nerve, ligaments, joint, vessel and muscles etc can be seen in perfect way
Emg, ncv, neurometry etc

Treatment options?
There's two types of options for your spine pain, one is conservative treatment with bed rest, exercises and medicine. But upto certain duration 6week to 6month you can try with. If no red flag sign like loss of motor power. Or bowl bladder involvement should take opinion from surgeon.
Second way is surgical procedure-like conventional open surgery or endoscopic minimal invasive techniques choice of your surgeon. As common man had reservation about spine surgery as thoughts to be risky, chance of bowl and bladder incontinence, or power loss of limbs, because in conventional surgery a small percentage of cases use to face failed back surgery syndrome. Where such complaint were invitable. Big skin incision. Long bed rest. Long hospital stays. Even with expert surgeon these complications were enviably there.
Secondly there is minimal invasive like pin hole stitchless techniques are now choice for spine disc pain problem. Day care surgery with out any blood loss. 24hrs hospital stay, no incision like conventional surgery. Done under local anaesthesia and sedation. Patient can resume daily activities same day. Can go to work with safety measures after 2weeks. And safety precautions to be followed for strengthening your back spine. Now like day care surgery endoscopic discectomy for slipdisc pain can be managed in our hands. All surgery can be seen even by patients on screen, what exactly happened to your spine and disc material.

Post procedure- follow up-
Regular physiotherapy and rehabilitation services is mandatory for strengthening of your spine.
Prognosis-success of procedure is 95%with all precautions and safety measures.


Homeopath, Kanpur

अधिकांशतः अनियमित जीवनशैली तथा उठने-बैठने के गलत तरीकों के कारण नसों में ज्यादा दर्द होता है खासकर कमर से लेकर पैर की नसों तक। साइटिका एक ऐसा ही दर्द है। दरअसल साइटिका खुद में बीमारी नहीं बल्कि बीमारियों के लक्षण हैं। इसका इलाज बेड रेस्ट, व्यायाम और दवाइयां है, लेकिन कई मामलों में सर्जरी भी करनी पड़ जाती है। ऐसे लोग जो टेबल या कंप्यूटर पर घंटों बैठ कर काम करते हैं, उन्हें यह दर्द ज्यादा परेशान करता है। इससे उनकी नसों में तनाव उत्पन्न होता है। इसका प्रमुख लक्षण तब सामने आता है जब पीठ और पैर में दर्द होने लगे। यह दर्द ऐंठन या अकड़न के कारण भी हो सकता है।

जब नसों के फाइबर इससे प्रभावित होते हैं तो पैर की उँगलियों को हिलाना भी कठिन होता है। अपने पैरों को उठाने में भी तकलीफ होती है। यह रोग अगर गंभीर हो जाए तो खड़े रहना और चलना मुश्किल हो जाता है।
साइटिका के दर्द के बारें में किए गए शोधों से पता चला है कि इस दर्द के उपचार का सबसे उपयुक्त तरीका है व्यायाम। खासकर वे व्यायाम जिनमें शरीर को आगे की ओर खींचना होता है, क्योंकि इस प्रक्रिया द्वारा आप प्रभावित तंत्रिका जड़ों पर दबाव पड़ता है और आप राहत महसूस करते हैं। बहुत सारे पीठ के ऐसे व्यायाम हैं जिन्हें करने से आपको साइटिका के दर्द से राहत मिलेगी।

दर्द से निजात पाने के लिए बढ़ती उम्र में रीढ़ को लचीला बनाए रखने के लिए योग और व्यायाम का अभ्यास जरूरी है। साइटिका के दर्द से मुक्ति के प्रमुख योगासन है- भुजंगासन, मकरासन, मत्स्यासन, क्रीडासन, वायुमुद्रा और वज्रासन। वज्रासन एकमात्र ऐसा आसन हैं जिसमें आप अपनी रीढ़ की हड्डी के निजले हिस्से पर ध्यान आसानी से केन्द्रित कर सकते हैं। इसके अलावा इस समय इन बातों का भी ध्यान रखें-
1. अधिक दर्द के समय काम न करके आराम करें।
2. ऊँची एड़ी की चप्पल न पहने।
3. ज्यादा मुलायम गद्दों पर न सोएं।
4. गर्म पानी की थैली से सिकाई करें।
5. आगे झुकने से बचें।
6. कोई भारी सामान नहीं उठाएं।
7. वेस्टर्न टॉयलेट का इस्तेमाल करें।
नियमित फिजियोथेरेपी, सही मुद्रा में रहना, कसरत और सिंकाई सबकुछ डॉक्टर की देखरेख में होना चाहिए। 
8. सियाटिका में होम्योपैथिकउपचार बेहद कारगर होता है 

 डॉक्टरों का मानना है कि अगर उपर्युक्त बातों पर ध्यान दिया जाए, तो छह से बारह हफ्तों में इस दर्द से पूर्णतः राहत मिल जाती हैं।

Sciatica Pain - How to Deal With It?

Dr. Varun Singla 88% (33 ratings)
MD, PDCC, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, FPCI
Pain Management Specialist, Delhi
Sciatica Pain - How to Deal With It?

The sciatic nerve spreads down the spine till the legs. The pain in this nerve can feel like sparks running down your leg (by and large only each one in turn) or cause pain in the lower back. Anything that puts weight on or aggravates this nerve can cause pain that shoots down the back of one butt cheek or thigh. The amount of pain can increase gradually. Sciatica may feel like a gentle ache, a sharp sensation or extreme uneasiness. Sciatica can bring feelings of shivering, numbness and weakness.

Sitting, standing up, coughing, sneezing, lifting, or straining for a very long time, might aggravate pain. Now and then, individuals experience numbness or shivering in the leg, too.

Some of the most regular symptoms of sciatic pain include:

  1. Lower back pain
  2. Pain in the back or leg when sitting
  3. Hip pain
  4. Burning sensation in the leg
  5. Numbness or trouble moving the leg or foot
  6. Continuous pain on one side of the back
  7. Shooting pain that makes it hard to stand up properly

The most common causes of sciatic pain include:

  1. Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal channel in the lower back)
  2. Degenerative disk sickness (breakdown of discs, which go about as pads between the vertebrae)
  3. Spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips over another)
  4. Pregnancy
  5. Muscle spasms

Some of the most effective exercises for sciatic pain relief are as follows:

  1. Pigeon Pose is a typical yoga posture. It attempts to open the hips. There are various types of this stretch. The first is the leaning back pigeon posture. If you are beginning your treatment, you have to attempt the leaning back posture first.
  2. While on the back, raise your right leg up to a right point and hold it with both hands behind the thigh and lock your fingers. Take your left leg and touch your lower leg against the knee. Hold the position for a minute.
  3. Sit on the floor with your legs stretched straight before you. At that point twist your right leg, putting your lower right leg on top of the left knee. Bend forward and incline your abdominal area toward your thigh. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and after that switch sides.
  4. Kneel down on the floor on all fours. Get your right leg and bring it forward so that your lower leg is on the ground. Your right foot has to be ahead your right knee while your right knee stays to one side. Stretch the left leg out the distance behind you on the floor, with the top of the foot on the ground and toes pointing backwards.
  5. Lie on your back with your legs facing outward and your feet flexed upward.

Wrap your hands around your knee and delicately pull your right leg over your body toward your left shoulder. Hold it there for 30 seconds and afterward push your knee so your leg comes back to its initial position. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3555 people found this helpful

Sciatica Pain - What Can Trigger It?

Dr. K Kartik Revanappa 93% (17 ratings)
MCh - Neurosurgery , MS - Orthopaedics
Neurosurgeon, Bangalore
Sciatica Pain - What Can Trigger It?

Sciatica is a neurological condition that mainly arises due to problems in the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is believed to be the largest nerve originating from the spinal nerves L4 to S3. It extends downward from the lower spine into the back of each leg (thighs) right down to the foot. The sciatic nerve acts as a connecting link between the spinal cord and the foot and the leg muscles. People with sciatica often experience a tingling sensation along with a shooting pain radiates downwards from the lower back (mostly the lumbar region) to the back of one of the legs. Some may also experience the sciatic pain down both the legs (rare).

Types of Sciatic Pain:

Sciatica that affects a person can be of two types depending on the severity of the associated symptoms

  • Acute sciatic pain: In this case, a person experiences a sudden radiating pain which often heals by itself within a week or two. More than often, the pain is triggered by an injury to the spinal joints, nerves, or the disc.
  • Chronic sciatic pain: This is a more serious condition where the pain may linger for long, often more than three months. The chronic sciatic pain may affect a person with severe Arthritis and nerve injury and damage.

Symptoms associated with Sciatica:

  • One of the characteristic symptoms of Sciatica is a shooting pain that radiates from the lower back (often the lumbar) to the back of one (or both) of the legs.
  • In some, the sciatic pain may result in weakness and a tingling sensation down the affected leg.
  • A person with sciatica may find it difficult to move his/her foot and legs (restricts their movement).
  • Some people may experience a shooting pain even while they are in a sitting position. In some others, the pain may be at its worst when a person is in a standing position.
  • Sciatica can also trigger a hip pain.

What triggers sciatica and the associated symptoms?

  • The disc is a protective shield that prevents any damage or injury to the vertebrae. A degenerative disc problem can interfere with the normal functioning of the disc triggering sciatica.
  • Spondylolisthesis: In Spondylolisthesis, also known as a Slip Disc, a bone (mostly in the lumbar region) slips over the bone which is located just below it. People with prolonged and untreated spondylolisthesis are often known to suffer from sciatica.
  • The sciatic pain can also affect a woman during her pregnancy.
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis: This condition is is characterized by the spinal canal narrowing down in the lumbar region. Lumbar spinal stenosis exerts pressure on the sciatic nerve, giving rise to sciatica.
  • A muscular strain or spasm in the buttocks can also be a contributing factor.

Proper management and prevention for sciatica are possible. One should be alert and consult a doctor in case they experience the associated symptoms or any discomfort. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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