Sciatica is the name given to any type of pain that is caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. It tends to be felt from the lower back to behind the thigh and can also radiate down below the knee. It can also cause tingling, numbness and weakness.
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It runs from the back of your pelvis, through your buttocks, and all the way down both legs, ending at your feet.
Under 20s rarely have Sciatica, it tends to be more common in the middle aged and is most likely to develop when you are between 40-50.
SIX EASY WAYS TO TELL IF YOU HAVE SCIATICA
Sciatica is often diagnosed by one or more of the following symptoms:
- Constant pain in only one side of the buttock or legs. It is rarely in both legs.
- Pain that gets worse when sitting
- Leg pain that feels like burning, tingling or searing
- Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving a leg, foot and/or your toes
- Sharp pain that makes it difficult to walk or stand up
- Pain that radiates through the leg and into foot
HOW DO YOU GET IT?
Often, a particular event or injury does not cause Sciatica, rather it tends to develop over time.
It can also be the result of a pinched nerve from a slipped disc, irritation of the nerve from adjacent bones, tumours, muscle or infections.
Sciatica can also occur because of irritation to the Sciatic nerve during pregnancy.
HOW CAN YOU TREAT IT?
If you think you suffer from Sciatica, you should see a doctor in order to learn about how to reduce the pain as well as checking for the possibility of a more severe medical issue.
Doctors can diagnose Sciatica with a physical and media exam although sometimes an X-ray, CT scan or MRI scan will be required to diagnose exact causes.
Most people find that symptoms clear up within six weeks.
- A variety of low-back conditioning and stretching exercise
- Pain relievers like paracetamol or ibuprofen
- Ice or heat
- muscle relaxants
- anti depressants
- Chirpractic care
- St John’s Wort Oil (applied two or three times a day where there is pain)
- Devil’s Claw – a herbal medication which is a potent anti-inflammatory which works like ibuprofen
Moving is the last thing people with Sciatica want to do but it’s important to be physically active for recovery. If walking is too painful, doctors recommend trying swimming and water aerobics.
If after six weeks, the pain isn’t lessening, sufferers may want to consider surgery.