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Overview

Sciatica - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

What is Sciatica?

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.

Causes and Risk factors

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:

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

Treatment :

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 Pain - 9 Things That Can Lead To It!

DNB (Neuro-Surgeon), MBBS
Neurosurgeon, Delhi
Sciatica Pain - 9 Things That Can Lead To It!

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Spinal tumors: Very rarely, tumors growing inside or along the spine may put pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  7. Infection or injury: Muscle inflammation, infections, fractures or any other spinal injury may lead to irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve.
  8. 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.
  9. Other causesOsteoarthritis and fractures caused by osteoporosis may also affect the sciatic nerve, producing symptoms of sciatica.

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

1905 people found this helpful

Sciatica - How Homeopathy Can Help You In Treating It?

DHMS (Diploma In Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery)
Homeopath, Chandigarh
Sciatica - How Homeopathy Can Help You In Treating It?

The longest nerve in the body is the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve starts from the lower part of the spine, through your hip to the back of the leg. So when it is said sciatica, we refer to pain in this nerve. Since the nerve covers the spine, hip and leg, sciatic pain is felt in the areas through which it passes. The lower leg muscles and sensation in the legs, thighs and feet are controlled by this nerve.

Symptoms usually include:

  1. Pain that radiates from the lower back to the hip and to the leg
  2. Sharp, tingling, dull, constant or burning pain
  3. Loss of bladder or bowel control
  4. Sneezing or coughing increases pain
  5. Moving the leg gets difficult so usual activities like walking, sitting and standing become painful

Homeopathic remedies are easy and gentle on the body. Homeopathy aims to boost the body's immune system so it can fight all its weaknesses. The following remedies may prove to be useful:

  1. Ammonium Muriaticum: It is taken for chronic pain in the heel or for chronic backache or when straightening the knee gets difficult as hamstrings contract. It is also taken for limping.
  2. Bellis Perennis: In periosteum injuries, stiffness and deep aches in the spine Bellis Perennis is used. It is also used for tailbone injuries. It is also helpful for nerve pains during pregnancy.
  3. Calcarea Fluorica: If the vertebra degenerates after trauma to the spine, then Calcarea Fluorica can be useful.
  4. Cicuta: The worst back injuries with serious trauma and muscles spasms are treated with Cicuta.
  5. Hypericum: Hypericum is suggested for tailbone injuries, temporary paralysis, spinal concussions and for sharp pain that tingles and moves upwards.
  6. Rhus tox: If after lifting weights, overexerting muscles and exposure to anything wet, you feel tearing and burning pain, then Rhus tox is beneficial. Cramps that get better after heat application, but get worse after exposed to the cold are also treated with Rhus tox.
  7. Ruta: Stiffness and pain from back injuries, twisting the wrong way and bruises are prescribed with Ruta.
1 person found this helpful

Sciatica - Non-Surgical Treatment For It!

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MD - Anaesthesia, PDCC - Pain Management
Pain Management Specialist, Delhi
Sciatica - Non-Surgical Treatment For It!

The term Sciatica is used to describe leg paintinglingnumbness or weakness that travels down the low back via the sciatic nerve to the back of leg. Sciatic nerve arises from each side of lower spine and passes deep in the buttock along the back of thigh and legs. The pain of Sciatica may be irregular/ infrequent or persistent causing severe agony to the patients. The pain of Sciatica may be confined to low back or hips or may extend up to toes. The pain of Sciatica can be excruciating and "not relieved by painkillers".

What causes Sciatica?

Pain in Sciatica is due to irritation or pinching of Sciatic nerve within the spine. This occurs most commonly due to prolapsed intervertebral disc (slip disc) causing nerve compression resulting in pain.

Is surgery the only treatment for Sciatica?

Most patients can be managed with medication/exercises. So surgery is not the only way out. Patients who have severe pain can also benefit from "Epidural Steroid Injection". This treatment has proven to be effective in avoiding spine surgery in such patients.

What is Epidural Steroid Injection?

Epidural Steroid Injection is a procedure done by a Specialist (Interventional Pain) in an Operation Theatre using X-Ray (Image Intensifier) to locate exact level of injection. A drug mixture consisting of Steroid with Local Anaesthetic is injected at the epidural space of affected nerve root. The steroid washes away inflammatory mediators from the epidural space which decreases the pain. Steroid also decreases the inflammatory response of body to the prolapsed disc. As a result the pain arising from nerve inflammation is decreased. This is a day care procedure i.e. the patients are discharged the same day.

How is the possibility of surgery ruled out?

Epidural Steroid Injection is a proven, safe and an effective treatment that works on the concept of Interventional pain management - to provide relief from persistent and chronic pain of Sciatica. Generally, a single injection is sufficient to relieve patients of the pain. The procedure can be repeated for a maximum 3 times in a year, depending on the patient's response. With effective pain relief, surgery is negated.

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

3349 people found this helpful

Know Your Back or Lumbar Spine

MPT, BPT
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.

3 people found this helpful

What Is Piriformis Syndrome?

MPT, BPT
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.

3 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

Sir I gave her homeopathy but that also did not cure her she is still suffering and hope you to suggest some more options and moreover she is suffering from sciatica also. I would like to know some more.

MPT, BPT
Physiotherapist, Noida
Core Strengthening Exercise- Straight Leg Raised With Toes Turned Outward, repeat 10 times, twice a day. Hams Stretching- lie straight, take the leg up, pull the feet towards yourself, with a elastic tube or normal belt. repeat 10 times, twice a day. Sports Taping- stretch the tape from both ends and apply on the affected area

I am suffering from sciatica nerve problem. So much pain. Pain killer taken from 10 days. Pl help.

BPTh/BPT, MPTh/MPT, CDNT, CKTT, Osteopathy, Cupping
Physiotherapist, Gurgaon
You should visit to the Physiotherapist if you have sciatica pain. Start doing stretching exercises of leg and hip joint.

I am suffering from left arm pain and in many times I felt all the pain at only one side of my body I consulted a doctor he said you have sciatica nerve problem.

BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, Agra
Hi Lybrate user sciatica nerve effects lower back and lower extrimity not arms. Well in sciatica go near physiotherapist and follow some exercises like reclining pigeon pose stretch sitting pigeon pose stretch forward pigeon pose knee to opposite shoulder sitting spinal stretches for more information contact personally.

What is sciatica it would affect the erection. What should I do in that propose I want ayurvedic consult.

BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, Agra
Hi Lybrate user lets first I told you that there is no connection between erection and sciatic nerve compression .erection problem might be due to stress .well in sciatica pain you can take conservative treatment like avoid pressure over periformis muscles, complet rest, posture correction, tens therapy, us therapy, gluteal stretch, you can take pain killer like acetaminophen / naproxen tablets for short term. Avoid prolong setting, avoid forward bending. Regards.