What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition in which a person complains of pain, numbness, weakness and tingling in the leg. The most important cause of sciatica is an injury or compression on the sciatic nerve. It may be produced due to some other underlying disease. It may occur at any age. It occurs more commonly in women after pregnancy.

Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica occurs due to damage or compression of the sciatic nerve. Sciatic nerve starts in the lower part of the back and run down the back of each leg. It controls the muscles of the back of the knee and lower leg. The most important causes of sciatica are:

  • Injury to the pelvic floor muscles due to fracture or in an accident
  • Presence of tumors
  • Lumbar herniated disc or slipped disc: It occurs when the soft inner core of the disc herniates through the fibrous outer core
  • Degeneration of the lumbar disc can produce sciatica due to irritation of the nerve roots
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis: It produces narrowing of the spinal canal. It occurs due to natural aging

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Symptoms of Sciatica

Generally, sciatica occurs only on one side of the body. Pain begins from the lower back and radiates downwards through the back of the thigh down to the leg. Some of the other symptoms of Sciatica are:

  • Pain in the lower back extending downwards to the legs
  • Pain occurs only on one side of the leg and rarely occurs on both sides
  • Pain ameliorates when patient lie down or walking but aggravates on standing or sitting for a longer period of time
  • Pain is sharp and shooting down the leg
  • Sensation of numbness and weakness in the leg
  • Pain also occurs while sneezing and coughing

How to treat sciatica?

It is not difficult to treat sciatica. One can get rid of the pain by adopting healthy lifestyle. Condition may improve within six weeks naturally. Some of the useful tips for preventing sciatic pain are:

  • People suffering from sciatica should not take bed rest. They should reduce their activity for a few days and start slowly with the usual daily activities
  • Avoid heavy lifting or twisting of back muscles for around six weeks
  • Start simple exercise at home. It helps to enhance the flow of blood to the muscles and give relief from nerve compression. You can start with walking and gentle stretching to reduce the severity of pain.
  • Physiotherapy is quite useful in giving relief from the symptoms of sciatica. You can also apply hot or cold compression pack on the painful area to reduce the pain.
  • One can also try using home remedies to get relief from pain. Take a glass of hot milk and add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder and drink it every day to reduce pain. It is an effective home remedy.
  • Massage your leg gently by using almond oil or mustard oil to enhance the flow of blood. It gives quick relief from tension in the nerve.
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