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Sciatica Nerve Pain

Updated on July 3, 2017

Dealing With Sciatica

Hurting your back is common and most people will experience some form of this injury during their lifetime and a common symptom with a back injury is Sciatica. The burning feeling running down the side of your buttocks into your leg is not a pleasant experience and for some it can be life altering. During this particular hub page we are going to take a closer look at Sciatica and what can be done to find relief from nerve pain

What Is Sciatica

Sciatica is not a illness or disorder by itself but an indicator that there is another medical condition at play most often a disturbance of the discs in the lower back. Sciatica shows up in the following ways:

1) A constant pain down on leg that can stretch from the buttock to the foot - rarely in both legs at the same time

2) A numbness running down the leg that can make walking and standing difficult

3) Sciatica tends to worsen when one is sitting down

However Sciatica shows up it can range from an irritant to a constant high level of pain


Causes Of Sciatica

When Sciatica appears it is normally due to a problem in the lower back. What happens is the discs in the lumber spine become misaligned and they are right beside the Sciatic nerve which happens to be the largest nerve in the human body. Depending on whether the Sciatic nerve is caught between two discs or whether the discs are just brushing the nerve will determine the amount of pain the person will experience. Thankfully most people will recover from Sciatica without any major medical intervention

When Sciatica Is Dangerous

Rarely does Sciatica become dangerous however if the Sciatic nerve is compressed at the wrong location it can cause a condition called Cauda Equina Syndrome which is characterized by the sudden loss of control of the bladder and bowels. If this does appear you need to get to the hospital immediately as the damage could become permanent.

NonSurgical Treatments For Sciatica

There are a number of treatments for Sciatica that you can do at home which may help you get through the pain.

1) Heat/Ice - It is important to alternate treatments from hot to cold for 20 minutes every couple of hours. This may allow the muscles in the legs to relax easing the pain

2) Over The Counter Medication - I am not a big fan of medication of any kind as they do little but mask the symptoms. Make sure you speak to a pharmacist for his or her recommendations. Some over the counter medication will do more harm than good. Personally I use naproxene as it is easier on the stomach than some others

3) Stretching - If you have any problems with your back and Sciatica it is essential to incorporate stretching into your daily lives. A lot of people who deal with Sciatica have problems with the muscles in their hips and upper thighs area. The internet is full of a ton of stretches specifically for sciatic pain

3) Epidural Injections - When the pain gets too be way to much the doctor may elect to use epidural injections into the spine giving the person immediate relief. However how long the relief will remain differs from patient to patient

Professionals Who Treat Sciatica

There are a number of medical professional who deal with Sciatica as part of their practice which the back sufferer may find helpful

1) Physical Therapists - Almost every doctor will recommend physical therapy as soon as a patient comes in regarding a back injury. Not only can a physical therapist use a number of treatments to help alleviate the pain they can also help improve the chances of a back injury not returning

2) Massage Therapists - A massage therapist knows the muscles of the body well and can hopefully help alleviate the pain in the body by concentrating on the areas of the back that is leading to the leg pain

3)Chiropractors - There are two school of thoughts when it comes to chiropractors and back injuries. Those who believe they are saviors and those who believe they are devils

Back Surgery For Sciatic Nerve Pain

The end of the road for Sciatic nerve pain treatment is back surgery. Thankfully considering the large number of people who will experience sciatica surgery is actually pretty rare. Most doctors will try every treatment under the sun before suggesting surgery. There are a number of reason surgery will be brought up but the two main ones are (A) Conventional treatment has not worked (B) Sciatica is limiting the day to day life of the patient

1)Microdiscetomy - This is a common surgery where the surgeon will remove a small part of the disc that is coming into contact with the sciatic nerve. The surgeon will make a tiny opening in the back and by using magnification removes part of the troublesome disc. This is the main surgery for lumbar disc herniation

2)Lumbar Laminectomy - Not as common as the Microdiscetomy the surgeon will remove part of the disc that is interfering with the Sciatic nerve. This is a surgery used for spinal stenosis

3)Lumber Spinal Fusion - A spinal fusion is the rarest form of surgery for dealing with sciatica. The fusion surgery goal is to stop a specific are of the spine from moving which is causing interference to the sciatic nerve. Normally one of the two surgeries above will be tried before a fusion is tried. A spinal fusion is much more evasive than the other two and because of such the recovery period is much longer

Have You Dealt With Sciatica

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Nothing Good About Sciatica

Sciatica sucks. There is no nice way to say it. Thankfully the majority of people who deal with Sciatic nerve pain will recover within a couple of weeks. With my own experiences dealing with back injuries over the last twenty years I would suggest starting with the stretches and or a physical therapist. Unfortunately there is not one simple solution that fits all sciatic nerve pain. I hope you find something that works for you and that you will never have to deal with sciatica again

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    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 months ago from New Delhi, India

      What an excellent hub about sciatica! I think You covered most of the things related to this painful condition.

      I have seen one of my friend suffering from it. She was advised rest till she gets some relief from pain and then perform some light exercises.

      Thanks for explaining this with helpful pictures!