What Is Sciatica Disease?
Back pain comes in all shapes and types. It can hurt you immediately after an injury or appear slowly and mysteriously over a period of time. Besides, Sometimes it’s hard to recognize the source of your back pain, but other times you can pinpoint it easily. Sciatica is one of those that’s pretty simple to pinpoint easily. You can take care of yourself at home using home remedies, therefore you might not even have to call a doctor.
Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the leg’s path of the sciatic nerve which is the longest nerve in the body, which branches out from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and down each leg until feet. Generally, sciatica affects only one side of the body.
Sciatica usually happens when a herniated disk, bone spur on the spine, or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the sciatic nerve. This causes pain, inflammations, tingling, and often some numbness in the affected leg.
What are the Risk Factors?
Most people that exposure to sciatica disease is between 30 and 50 years old.
Extra pounds can put pressure on the spine may be an essential cause, which means people who are overweight and pregnant women have a greater risk of getting a herniated disk.
People who suffer from diabetes have a risk to cause nerve damage.
Lots of heavy lifting or prolonged sitting can damage the herniated disk.
What are the Symptoms?
The hallmark of sciatica when a person feels a pain that radiates from the lower spine to the buttock and down the back of the leg until feet. Also, feeling the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it’s likely to follow a path from the low back to the buttock and the back of the thigh and calf.
The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or horrible pain. Sometimes it can feel like a jolt or electric shock. It goes worse when you cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can increase symptoms. Besides, people also have numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot.
Call the doctor when sciatica doesn’t go away over time, self-care measures fail to ease the symptoms, or if the pain lasts longer than a week and getting worse and severe. Usually, in the first week, you will recover by self-care and some procedures to follow.
What are the Tests of Diagnosis for Sciatica?
During the physical exam, the doctor may check the muscle strength and reflexes of the patient. For example, walking on the toes or heels, rise from a squatting position and, while lying on the back, lift the legs one at a time. The results from sciatica will usually worsen during these activities, feeling pain and electrical shocks along the leg.
Many people have herniated disks or bone spurs that will show up on imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI, CT scan, or Electromyography (EMG) but have no symptoms. So doctors don’t typically order these tests unless the pain is severe and worse, or it doesn’t improve within a few weeks.
Most people with sciatica get better in a few weeks without surgery. Medications like ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) can help relieve pain, although they should be only a short-term solution to ease the pain.
1. Home Remedies and Self-Care
The doctor might also recommend putting cold packs on the lower back of the patient for a couple of days and then switching to hot packs for a few days after that. It may feel relief, ease pain, and in good stretches for the lower back. Besides, it’s actually more important to keep moving. Staying will make the nerve continue to be irritated in that spot. Staying in motion will reduce inflammation.
2. Physical Therapy
Once the acute pain improves, the physical therapist can design a rehabilitation program to prevent future injuries. This usually includes exercises to strengthen the muscles supporting the back and improve flexibility.
Also, Cupping therapy is a way to get rid of blood clotting or excess blood to move or stimulate the body’s natural energy and it might cure sciatica. The patient can make the cupping by himself by heating the air inside a glass cup, then acupuncture in the affected leg. The cup is then quickly placed on the skin, and the resulting vacuum pulls the excess blood into the cup. The cup may be left in place for several minutes and then removed with unwanted blood, and leaving behind a bright red, circular welt.
If home remedies don’t work, the doctor will prescribe stronger medications (types of drugs) to ease sciatica pain include:
- Muscle relaxants.
- Tricyclic antidepressants.
- Anti-seizure medications.
4. Steroid Injections
In some critical cases, the doctor might recommend an injection of a corticosteroid medication into the area around the involved nerve root. Besides, Corticosteroids help to ease pain by suppressing inflammation around the irritated nerve. The effects typically take off in a few months. The number of steroid injections that the patient can receive is limited because the risk of serious side effects increases when the injections received too frequently.
This option is usually reserved when none of the previous treatments doesn’t work, that means pain still getting worse and doesn’t improve with time. Indeed, Surgeons can remove the bone spur or the portion of the herniated disk that’s pressing on the pinched sciatic nerve.