All you need to know about Sciatica

Overview-What is Sciatica Sciatica comprises the pain that radiates with the route of the “sciatic nerve”, which goes from your lower spine through your buttocks and then down each leg. Particularly, sciatica touches only one side of your body. Sciatica usually occurs when a herniated disk or a bone spur on the spine or the […]

Overview-What is Sciatica

Sciatica comprises the pain that radiates with the route of the “sciatic nerve”, which goes from your lower spine through your buttocks and then down each leg. Particularly, sciatica touches only one side of your body.
Sciatica usually occurs when a herniated disk or a bone spur on the spine or the shortening of the spine called spinal stenosis presses part of the nerve causing swelling, pain, and often some insensitivity in the involved leg.
Although the pain due to sciatica can be very sharp, most cases settle on their own in some weeks. People who have extreme sciatica that is associated with notable leg weakness or even have bowel or bladder changes might demand surgery as well

Symptoms of sciatica


It is to be remembered that any pain that spreads from your lower spine to your hips and then down the backside of your leg is the symbol of sciatica.

Pain in buttock and lower back/ Pain from lower back to leg/

Buttock and leg pain/ Sciatica in hip

You may experience the pain almost anywhere along the pathway of the sciatic nerve, but it is particularly likely to develop a path from your low spine to your buttock and then behind your thigh and calf. The pain from sciatica could vary extensively, from a mild twinge to a sharp, stinging sensation or excruciating pain. It can sense like a jolt or electrical shock. Sometimes, it can increase in intensity when you cough or sneeze. Also, prolonged sitting in one position can considerably complicate or intensify symptoms. Ordinarily, only it occurs unilaterally.

Some people may also have insensitivity, tingling, or muscle weakness in the leg or foot of the affected side. It can also happen that you have pain in one part and numbness in another part of your affected leg.

Sciatica knee pain

The muscles of knees are supplied by nerves that originate in the lower segments of the spine. Any stress or compression of the nerves at their point of origin from the spinal cord causes painful symptoms, that are commonly recognized as sciatica.

Common knee symptoms while having sciatica include:

  • A hot sensation, acute cutting pain, or slow ache on the anterior, lateral, and/or posterior of the knee
  • Incapability to support weight on the affected knee
  • Feebleness while stretching the knee (an attempt to straighten your leg)

Whenever the knee pain is a part of sciatica, it will be accompanied by pain in the buttock, back of the thigh, calf, and maybe the foot. The pain usually affects one leg at a time, so the bilateral knee pain is not common

Sciatica foot pain/ Sciatica numb foot

When you are suffering from sciatica, the pain is commonly produced by a disc that is slipped from its normal place and is now pressing on to the root of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve commences in the lumbar area of the spine and then moves down to your toes – this is the reason why the pain spreads down the leg to the foot. Sciatica may also be due to any injury, bone disease, or tumor.
If the foot pain has a typical character of starting in the buttock and then moving downward from the calf to foot, then it is due to sciatica. The pain can range widely, from a mild twinge to an acute cutting, burning feeling, or intense pain. Sometimes, it may feel like a jolt or an electric shock

Sciatica left side/ Sciatic nerve pain left side/ Left side sciatica pain

Usually, sciatica strikes only one side of your body. It affects the only right or left side of the body. Sciatica most commonly happens whenever a herniated disk or a bony spur impinges on the spine.

It can also occur due to the shortening of the spine in width (spinal stenosis) which compresses some part of the nerve. This causes swelling, tenderness, and usually some insensitivity in the affected leg. It causes the pain and tingling starting from the left buttock that progressively involves the whole left leg

Sciatica right side/ Sciatic nerve pain right side

Pain in the back or in the right leg that may also be a sign of sciatica. Other features of sciatica on the right side include the worsening of pain while sitting, burning or creeping sensation down the right leg.

Also, weakness, insensitivity, or trouble in moving the right leg or foot accompanied by constant pain on the right side of lower. This shooting pain may also be associated with difficulty in standing.

The most distinguishing symptom of sciatica is the pain that spreads from your lower back into the rear or onto the lateral of your legs. It can vary from a mild twinge to cutting, severe pain. You can even get numbness, creeping sensation, and weakness in your right leg or foot.

Severe sciatica/ Bilateral sciatica/Sciatica in both legs

The updated red flags signs of sciatica include sciatica in both legs. Also, severe or increasing two-sided neurological deficit of both the legs at a time, such as significant muscle weakness with knee extension, eversion of the ankle, or the dorsiflexion of the foot.

Bilateral sciatica happens in both legs mutually. This sort of sciatica is uncommon and may happen due to degenerative alterations in the vertebrae of the vertebral disc at several levels of the spinal cord, or from severe diseases such as cauda equina syndrome.

 

Sciatica and pregnancy/ Sciatic nerve pregnancy/ Sciatic pain pregnancy

Sciatic pain is usually caused by some of the lumbar spine disorders, such as a bulging or herniation of the vertebral disc. It can additionally be caused by any bone disorders, for example, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, spondylolisthesis, or any degeneration of the disc. All these conditions can put stress on the sciatic nerve and cause symptoms.

Sciatica pregnancy causes

Sciatica caused by a herniated disc is uncommon during pregnancy. But, the sciatica symptoms are quite common along with low back pain during pregnancy. Almost 50 to 80 percent of women possess back pain when pregnant.

Sciatic signs may also be due to muscle tightness and unbalanced joints. Pain in the pelvic bone, sacroiliac joint disorders, and a disease called piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome is a disease in which there is a problem of a muscle in the buttocks. These are the common causes of sciatica during pregnancy. 

This is caused by an increase in hormones including relaxin, which can cause the ligaments, to loosen and extend, especially in the pelvic area.

The baby’s weight inside the uterus can also combine to cause the SI joint trouble and also the piriformis syndrome. This is because it places extra pressure on the pelvic and hip joints. Infrequently the position of the fetus can increase pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Sciatic nerve pain pregnancy / Sciatica early pregnancy symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • irregular or persistent pain in the unilateral side of the buttocks extending to leg
  • pain along the path of the sciatic nerve, starting from the buttocks going down the posterior of your thigh and then to the foot
  • cutting, sharp, or burning pain
  • numbness, tingling, or weakness in the involved leg or foot
  • difficulty stepping, walking, or sitting

pregnancy sciatica relief

Treatments for sciatic pain through pregnancy comprise

  • massage
  • chiropractic care
  • physical therapy
  • Self-treatment including exercises that stretch the muscles of the leg, and hip to reduce the compression on the sciatic nerve.
  • non-weight-bearing activities, like swimming, can also be helpful because the water supports the weight of the fetus

When should I see a doctor

You must call your physician if self-care maneuvers fail to relieve your symptoms or if your pain remains longer than a week. If the pain is unbearable or converts into a progressively worsening pain. Mild sciatica mostly relieves itself over time.

Get prompt medical attention if:

  • You have immediate, severe pain in your low backbone or leg and also numbness, insensitivity, or muscle weakness in your leg
  • The pain develops after a violent injury, such as a traffic accident
  • You have difficulty controlling your bowels or bladder

Causes of Sciatica/ Causes of Pinched nerve buttock

Sciatica happens when the sciatic nerve is compressed, mostly by a herniated disk in the vertebral spine or by an outgrowth of bone on your vertebrae (bone spur)
In some cases, the nerve can also be compressed by a cyst, tumor, or destroyed by a disease such as diabetes.

Sciatic nerve compression/

Compression of nerve in buttocks where the sciatic nerve located

Direct mechanical forces can be implemented upon the nerve because of these common diseases:

Herniated disc sciatica

A disc in the lower spine area can protrude or herniate, thus irritating, and/or compressing a sciatic nerve root. It is the most common known cause of sciatica.

Stenosis of foramina

 Stenosis, or contraction of the intervertebral openings from which the sciatic nerve roots come out, may compress or disturb the sciatic nerve. Additional degenerative modifications in the spine, including the thickening of joint capsules or ligaments, or both, may also immediately press the sciatic nerve.

Instability of a vertebral segment

It occurs in one of the vertebrae slides over the one under it called spondylolisthesis, vertebral defects are known as spondylolysis, or even the whole dislocation of one or more vertebrae can instantly compress the nerve root(s) of the sciatic nerve.

Piriformis sciatic nerve compression

Piriformis syndrome is a rare neuromuscular dysfunction that is due to the piriformis muscle compression on the sciatic nerve. The piriformis muscle is a plane, band-like muscle settled in the buttocks near the head of the hip joint. This muscle is significant in the movements of lower body parts because it supports the hip joint and elevates and turns the thigh laterally. 

Sciatic nerve lie close to this muscle and the spasm of the piriformis muscle can cause the sciatic nerve compression. 

Risk factors of Sciatica

Several risk factors for sciatica include

  • Age. Old age frequently causes changes in the spine, for example, the herniated disks and bone spurs causing sciatica
  • Obesity. An increase in body weight can offer compression and stress on the spine that triggers sciatica.
  • Profession. If the nature of your job demands you to turn your back, carry huge loads, or drive a vehicle for longer periods, it can play a role in sciatica. 
  • Prolonged sitting position. People who used to sit for prolonged periods are more likely to develop sciatica than active people are.
  • Diabetes. This ailment increases the risk of nerve damage. It disturbs the process of your body using the sugar in an appropriate way

Complications of Sciatica

Although a lot of people recover completely from sciatica, usually without treatment, sciatica can cause constant nerve damage.

Seek prompt medical care if you have the following alarming symptoms or conditions:

  • Numbness in the affected leg
  • Instability in the affected leg
  • Loss of bowel or bladder function

Prevention from sciatica/ How to relieve nerve leg pain

It’s not always possible to stop or control this disease, and the condition may even happen again

The following can play a vital role in protecting your back:

  • Exercise daily:  If you want to keep your back strong, you must pay proper attention to your trunk muscles — the abdominal muscles and lower back muscles as they are essential for proper posture maintenance.
  • Maintain a proper posture while sitting. You must choose a seat having good proper back support. Always place a pillow or use a rolled towel instead to keep in the small of your back to maintain its normal curve. Try to maintain your hips and knees at the same level.
  • Practice good body mechanics. If you stand for long intervals, make a habit of resting one foot onto a stool or a small box after some time. While you lift heavy things, let your lower extremities do the maximum work. Learn to move straight up and down. Keep your backbone straight and bend your body only at the knees. Keep the weight close to your body. Avoid raising and twisting the load simultaneously.

Treatment of sciatica

Most people having sciatica get healthier in some weeks with home remedies. If the pain is fairly light and it isn’t hindering your daily activities, your physician will recommend you to try some blending of these solutions.

Ayurvedic treatment for sciatica

Therapies including Dhanyamla Dhara, Pathrapotali swedam, Abyanga swedam, Sarvangadhara (Pizhichil), Navarakizhi, Kadeevasthy, Vasti are most popular and are done to treat sciatica.
Vasti is the most relevant procedure in Ayurveda for the permanent treatment of sciatica.

Physiotherapy for sciatica

Physiotherapy is the best-known remedy for so far. It soothes your muscles and relieves the nerve irritation that is causing pain. You can even do it at your home without any need for specialized instruments.

Sciatic joint stretch

Various sacroiliac joint stretches help in relieving sciatica. The most commonly recommended stretch is known as the single knee to chest stretch.

One common exercise for correcting the nerve irritation is called nerve flossing:

  • Set your back on the flat surface and lie straight. Now bring the knee of the involved side to almost 90 degrees.
  • Keep your foot flexed at the same time, bend and align your knee as much as you can without evoking pain or any other symptoms.
  • Do almost 15 reps gradually and gently without any holds. Repeat for 2-5 times each day

running with sciatica

You can try the following tips while running or jogging to reduce the sciatica pain

  • Try running barefoot. Use the comfortable track and start by initial walking of the barefoot.
  • Apply heat pad to your lower back hip for about 10-20 minutes before you start running. It will soothe your muscles.
  • Avoid running on up and down and rough track. Take a smooth track and focus only on the forward motion.
  • Try yoga stretches to stretch the lower back muscles appropriately

Sciatic Stretcher

A sciatic stretcher is a device available online that helps you to stretch your leg against the strong elastic band of the stretcher. It provides an effective way of stretching your lower back and leg muscles without needing an expert guideline.

Chiropractor for sciatica

Doctor Johnson presents a different way to treat people with sciatica. It is known as Chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic modifications will strive to re-align the spine the pressure on the sciatic nerve will be removed. When the pressure is removed, the body will start to repair itself from inside.

Massaging sciatic nerve

Massage therapy is an efficient way to alleviate pain. A 2014 study discovered that deep tissue massage can be as productive as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for decreasing low back pain.
Massage can help in a couple of ways. Massage’s foremost advantage is comforting the tense muscles. When the body muscles are tense, they will put more stress on the nerves involved, including the sciatic nerve. It will help to lessen pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Soft tissue massage can also serve to improve your pain threshold as it stimulates the discharge of endorphins. Endorphins promote pleasure and alleviate pain, thus causing an enhanced sense of well-being.

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