Sciatica is described as mild or intense pain along the back of your leg. There are numerous lower back problems that can lead to sciatica. Read on to know more about the most leading causes of sciatica.
The largest single nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve runs from each side of the lower spine all the way down to your feet. The main function of this nerve is to connect the spinal cord with the muscles of your leg and feet. Any pain that is felt along the path of this nerve is called as sciatica. Usually, when you have sciatica, only one side of your body is affected. In most cases, the pain extends from the lower spine right down to the leg. You may also experience pain in your toes and feet, depending upon which part of the sciatic nerve is affected. Even though it affects individuals of all ages, it most commonly occurs between the ages of 25 and 45.
Sciatica is not a disorder in its own right, but it is a symptom of some other underlying medical condition. The signs and symptoms of sciatica typically include tingling sensation down the leg, pain in the leg that is worse while sitting, constant pain on one side of the rear, weakness, shooting pain making it difficult to stand up, and difficulty in moving the leg. The pain from sciatica varies from one person to another; some people find the pain mildly irritating, while others experience severe and debilitating pain.
Some of the risk factors of developing sciatica are occupation, obesity, diabetes, prolonged sitting, and your age. Doctors conduct a physical exam to check your reflexes and muscle strength to diagnose sciatica. If you are suffering from severe sciatica, the doctors may advise you to undergo certain imaging tests like X-ray or MRI to find out the exact cause of the pain.
In approximately 90 percent of the cases, people recover from sciatica with some self-care measures. When these measures do not provide you any relief from the pain, your doctor may prescribe certain medications like muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-seizure medicines, tricyclic antidepressants, and narcotics. Some of the other treatment methods used to treat sciatica include steroid injections, physical therapy, and surgery. You can also make use of alternative medicine techniques like chiropractic and acupuncture to find some relief from the sciatica pain.
Sciatica is not a medical disorder, but it is a symptom of some other medical condition. Therefore, in order to design an effective treatment plan for sciatica, the doctor needs to understand the cause of the pain, i.e., the medical condition that is causing sciatica. Here is a list of the six most leading causes of sciatica.
Spinal stenosis is associated with the natural aging of the spine and therefore, is more common in adults over 60 years of age. When you are suffering from spinal stenosis, you experience leg pain that is similar to sciatica. This pain usually gets worse when you are walking or standing and you find some relief from the pain when you are sitting down. Spinal stenosis can be a result of the overgrowth of soft tissue, enlarged facet joints, or a bulging disc. All of these put pressure on the nerve roots, which in turn causes sciatica pain.
Herniated disc is also known as a ruptured disc, a slipped disc, a pinched nerve, a protruding disc, or a bulging disc. A herniated disc refers to the condition where there is a problem in one of the rubbery cushions that are placed between the individual vertebrae in your spine. The spinal disc is made up of a softer inner core and a tougher outer portion. You suffer from a herniated disc when this softer core pushes through a crack in the tougher exterior, thereby putting direct pressure on the nerve. This pressure is what makes sciatica one of the most common symptoms of herniated disc.
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