What you Need to Know About Sciatic Nerve and Sciatica Pain
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and extends from the low back down the back of both legs. It involves irritation of the roots of the lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine. The medical diagnosis for this condition is “radiculopathy.” This type of pain is common and often affects pregnant women. It can develop from activities like sitting in the same position for a long time. The pain from sciatica can be mild or debilitating. Some of the symptoms include leg or rear pain that is worse when sitting, leg tingling or burning, shooting pain that makes standing up hard to do and weakness or numbness in the leg or foot. Most people are affected on only one side of the body and the pain can extend to the feet and toes, radiating down the body. Even though the pain may be mild at first, it has the potential to worsen over time.
Sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the body and pain usually occurs when the nerve is irritated or compressed in the lumbar spine.
Other conditions that can contribute to sciatica include nerve compression and degenerative disc disease, which occurs when discs degenerate. The discs offer cushioning between the vertebrae. Sciatica can also be caused by lumbar spinal stenosis (when the spinal canal in the lower back narrows) and spondylolisthesis, which is the result of one vertebra slipping forward over another. Certain things can contribute to or aggravate sciatica pain. These include being overweight, wearing high heels, sleeping on a mattress that is too soft and inactivity. Most people who suffer from this pain are between the ages of 30 and 50 and this usually occurs because of general wear and tear, not an injury.
Doctors will most likely ask about medical history, conduct an exam and use X-Rays, MRIs or CT scans in the diagnosis process. They will likely try to treat the underlying cause of the sciatica pain and may use medication to control pain and inflammation and relax muscles. Other treatments may include physical therapy and stretching. Sciatica pain that is chronic may be treated more aggressively through pain management or surgery. Many people who suffer from sciatica pain will get better over time. This could take weeks or months but the condition can be controlled with non-surgical treatments. However, some people may experience agonizing, lasting pain that requires more invasive measures.