Overview of Sciatica
Sciatica is a form of pain that afflicts many people experiencing back pain. It typically serves as an indication or symptom of larger, underlying medical condition, not as a condition itself.
Characterized by localized pain in the hips, buttocks, and back of legs, sciatica is produced by pressure placed on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs from the lower part of the spine down both legs and down to the feet. Conditions related to the muscles, bones, or joints are often the cause of sciatica in people with lower back pain. These can feel like a dull, throbbing sensation or a repetitive sharp pain. Other sciatica symptoms include:
- Tingling or burning sensation in the thighs
- Pain along one side of the body
- Shooting pain up and down the leg
- Difficulty standing or sitting
Sciatica is highly treatable, but it often points to other lower back pain conditions tied to the surrounding muscles or bone structure. To know for sure, seek the advice of a physician who can run tests and produce a correct diagnosis.
Conditions Causing Sciatica
Many lower back pain conditions can cause sciatica to occur. Among the most common are:
- Herniated discs: Also known as a ruptured or slipped disc, herniated discs cause the inner shock-absorbing substance of intervertebral discs to leak, forming build up and pressure on the surrounding nerves. This occurs mostly around the lower spine where the sciatic nerve starts, creating pain along the hips and back of legs.
- Spinal stenosis: As people age, the spinal vertebrae begin to wear out and thin down, causing it to shrink and thus constrict the space around the spinal nerves. Likewise, this can occur around the sciatic nerve, which begins at the lower end of the spinal column.
- Degenerative disc disease: Similar to spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease is characterized by a wear and tear of the intervertebral discs. When this happens, bones and joints thin out and cause them to rub against each other, creating pain. This can occur on the lower portion of the spine and produce tension on the sciatic nerve.
Fortunately, sciatica is highly treatable and easy to overcome. In most cases, taking up a different exercise routine, changing diet intake, and receiving minor physical therapy are all effective sciatica treatment forms. In rare cases does surgery become a solution for sciatic nerve pain relief.
There are many exercises for sciatica that can be practiced to eventually get rid of this persistent form of pain. These may include:
- Frequent leg stretches
- Posture exercises
- Hip stretching
Doing a combination of these activities, in addition to remaining active in your daily lifestyle, can vastly improve sciatic pain and prevent it from recurring. Before attempting any exercise or treatment plan, consult a physician who can verify that you are physically capable of carrying out exercise routines without risking any physical harm.