What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition of the back that is directly related to the sciatic nerve. This nerve starts from the lower back through the hips and buttocks, leading down the legs.
What Causes Sciatica?
The symptoms of sciatica occur because the sciatic nerve is being compressed. The most common reasons for a compressed sciatic nerve include:
- Herniated disk – a disk between the vertebrae has slipped or ruptured, which can cause irritation to the nearby nerves, such as the sciatic nerve.
- Bone spur on the spine – bony projections along the edges of the spine.
How Does Sciatica Affect the Body’s Condition?
With problems, such as a herniated disk or bone spur, affecting the sciatic nerve, a patient may experience a number of symptoms, including:
- Pain, usually radiating from the lower spine to the buttock and down the back of your right or left leg.
- Muscle weakness
Note: Sciatica usually affects just one leg, depending on which side of the body the sciatic nerve is being compressed and irritated.
Some people experience mild discomfort while others deal with severe pain. And a patient can recover from sciatica, but sometimes the condition can worsen, causing you to seek professional evaluation and care.
A patient should seek medical attention if he/she is experiencing these symptoms:
- Numbness in one or both legs
- Muscle weakness in one or both legs
- Loss of bowel and/or bladder function
How is Sciatica Treated?
It’s important to get treatment for sciatica and underlying issues as soon as possible. The function of your spine reflects the body’s condition, as seen with sciatica symptoms. Professional treatment is recommended for patients who continue experience sciatica-related symptoms. The four main treatments for sciatica include:
- Physical therapy – this involves treating the back’s posture, strength of back muscles and flexibility.
- Prescribed medication – medication, such as anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants, can help keep symptoms at bay.
- Steroid injections – in more severe cases, a steroid injection can be injected near the sight of the nerve to help reduce irritation and inflammation.
- Surgery –this is for when sciatica is causing loss of bowel and/or bowel function and progressive pain/weakness of the lower back, buttocks and legs.
For more information on Sciatica, call Atlas Integrated Healthcare in Matthews, NC at 704-443-2902!