Sciatica is a term used to describe the pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve. Sciatic nerve is a long nerve that extends from lower back to both the legs. Sciatica usually affects only one side of the body. It occurs when the sciatic nerve gets compressed.
- Spinal stenosis – narrowing of the spine
- Herniated disc
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disease of the disc
- Overgrowth of bone – bone spur on your vertebrae
- Muscle spasm in the back or buttocks
- Pain in the lower back or buttocks, back,hip, legs
- Difficulty in walking
- Muscle weakness
- Inflammation in legs
- Numbness in legs
- Burning sensation in the legs
- Constant pain on one side of the leg
Diagnosis of sciatica can be made based on
- Physical examination
- Evaluation of signs and symptoms
- Imaging procedures such as X-ray, MRI, CT
Prevention may not be possible always. A cured sciatica may reoccur. Certain steps can be taken to protect lower limbs and back include:
- Regular exercise for healthy and strong abdomen and lower back muscles
- Keep your back straight while bending. Bend on your knees
- Avoid lifting very heavy objects
- Maintain proper posture
- Always keep shoulders and back straight. Do not hunch.
Self care measures may be suggested by your doctor and if it doesn’t reduce the pain, medications and physiotherapist may be recommended.
- Some of the medications to reduce pain caused by sciatica include muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Physiotherapist gives you training on exercises for posture correction, muscle support, muscle strengthening, flexibility and also directions to prevent recurrence and further damage.
- Surgery may be recommended in severe cases when other measures do not work effectively.
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