What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is discomfort that radiates along the route of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back across the buttocks and hips and down each leg. Sciatica usually impacts just one side of the body.
Sciatica is most often caused by a herniated disk, a bone spur (a tiny pointing outgrowth of bone), or a slipped disc. Local pain (such as from degenerative arthritis or injury) on the spine or weakening of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses a portion of the nerve. This results in inflammation, discomfort, and numbness in the injured leg.
While sciatica pain may be excruciating, most cases heal in a matter of weeks with non-surgical procedures. Patients with chronic sciatica that have major leg instability or bowel or bladder modifications may be candidates for surgery.
The sciatic nerve is the body’s largest and thickest (approximately finger-width) nerve. It is actually composed of five nerve roots: two from the lower back area known as the lumbar spine and three from the final segment of the spine known as the sacrum. The five nerve roots join to form the right and left sciatic nerves. One sciatic nerve passes across your hips, buttocks, and down one thigh, stopping just below the knee on either side of the body. The sciatic nerve then splits into other nerves that run down your leg and into your feet and toes.
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How does sciatica discomfort feel?
True sciatic nerve “sciatica” damage is uncommon, but the term is widely used to describe any pain that originates in the lower back and radiates down the leg. This discomfort is caused by a nerve injury – an itching, inflammation, pinching, or compression of a nerve in your lower back.
Depending on the cause, people explain sciatica discomfort in a variety of ways. Sharp, shooting, or jolting pain is how some people perceive their pain. Other people characterize the pain as “burning,” “electric,” or “stabbing.”
The discomfort can be chronic or intermittent. In addition, the pain in your leg is normally more intense than in your lower back. The pain can get stronger if you sit or stand for long periods of time, stand up, or twist your upper body. A forced and abrupt body reaction, such as a cough or sneeze, may also aggravate the discomfort.
If you have “sciatica,” you can feel moderate to extreme discomfort somewhere in the course of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back to the hips, buttocks, and/or down the thighs. It may also induce leg and foot muscle fatigue, numbness, and an uncomfortable tingling pins-and-needles feeling in your leg, foot, and toes.
Age: The most frequent forms of sciatica are age-related modifications in the spine, such as herniated disks and bone spurs.
Obesity: Excess body weight will lead to the spinal changes that cause sciatica by increasing the tension on your spine.
Profession: A work that involves rotating your spine, lift heavy loads, or drive a motor vehicle for long stretches of time can contribute to sciatica, although there is no definitive proof of this connection.
Long periods of sitting: Those who sit for extended periods of time or lead a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to experience sciatica than someone who lead an active lifestyle.
Diabetes: A disease that affects the body ability to use blood sugar correctly and raises the chances of nerve damage.
Inadequate core strength: The “core” muscles are those in your back and abdomen. The higher your heart, the more strength your lower back would provide. Unlike your chest, where your rib cage provides protection, your lower back is supported solely by your muscles.
Poor posture at the gym: Even if you are physically fit and active, you will also be vulnerable to sciatica if you do not use good body form while lifting weights or doing other strength training exercises.
Smoking: Tobacco use can damage spinal tissue, weaken bones, and hasten the deterioration of vertebral disks.
Pregnancy: Certain pregnancy hormones allow their ligaments to relax. Ligaments connect the vertebrae, shield the disks, and stabilize the spine. Loose ligaments can make the spine weak and allow disks to slip, causing nerves to be pinched and the creation of sciatica. The weight and location of the baby will also put pressure on the nerve.
Prevention of Sciatica
- Regular exercise is important. Pay careful attention to the core muscles to keep your back healthy. These are the muscles in your abdominal and lower back that are essential for good balance and alignment. Inquire with a sports physio and rehab for Exercise Physiology for treatment and prevention of sciatica.
- When sitting, maintain proper stance. Choose a seat with a swivel foundation, armrests, and strong lower back support.
- Consider putting a cushion or folded towel in the small of your back to keep it curvy. Maintain a level line with the knees and hips.
- Make full use of the body mechanics. Rest one foot on a stool or small box every now and then if you stand for long stretches of time. Allow your lower extremities to do the job while lifting something heavy. Move up and down in a straight line.
- Maintain a straight back and just at the knees. Keep the weight close to the frame. Bending and twisting can not be done at the same time. If the object is bulky or difficult, find a lifting buddy.
When should you see a doctor about your sciatica?
Mild sciatica normally goes down on its own. Call the doctor if self-care interventions do not relieve your symptoms or if your pain lasts more than a week, is serious, or worsens with time. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, seek emergency medical attention:
- You have intense pain in your low back or shoulder, as well as numbness or muscle stiffness in your leg.
- The agony that accompanies a traumatic incident, such as a car crash, is excruciating.
- You are having difficulty containing the bowels or bladder.
Exercises that help with Sciatica Pain
Sciatica symptoms can be caused by a number of factors. The first step in resolving a dilemma is to identify what does not move. The lower back and hips are often the most troublesome body pieces. The easiest way to relieve any sciatica discomfort is to do some stretches and exercises that will externally twist the hip.
- reclining pigeon pose
- sitting forward pigeon pose
- knee to opposite shoulder
- sitting spinal stretch
- standing hamstring stretch