Sciatica is often associated with back pain, but in truth the pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness tends to travel down through the buttocks and into the upper legs. The symptoms range from mild to severe, but it has a common source- the nerves of the lower back and the sciatic nerve.
Sciatic pain is characterized by pain on one side or the other- pain on both sides is rare. The pain often worsens when sitting. It tends to be a burning, tingling, or sharp pain rather than a dull ache, and is often accompanied by a weakness or numbness that may make it difficult to walk and move your limb, a weakness that may extend as far as the feet and toes. The pain begins in the lower back or buttocks and radiates downwards. The pain may be mild or debilitating.
Sciatica is caused by a restriction or inflammation around the sciatic nerve. The nerves are bundled with routes at the base of the spine. They travel down through the buttocks into the lower legs, and control movement of the legs as well as balance. If the nerves become pinched, impinged or restricted, the pain and weakness can leave the sufferer unable to walk, sit, or stand comfortably.
The treatment for sciatica will depend largely upon the diagnosed cause. Sciatica can be caused by impingement or pinching of the spaces around the sciatic nerves- the largest nerve in the body. This may be caused by osteoarthritis, injury, or trauma. Conservative means of treatment include the use of anti-inflammatories like NSAIDs. Muscle relaxers may also be useful. Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles supporting the spinal structure may also be useful. Approximately 10-15% of all sciatica patients will need surgery to attain relief. Most patients respond well to pain care and supportive treatments. Don’t let sciatica pain rule your life. If you’re suffering from debilitating pain, call for your consultation today.