The sciatica is characterized with a lower back pain, which through the hips is transmitted down in the back part of the leg, and in certain cases in the foot and the fingers. Most often it occurs on one leg.
The intensity of the pain is variable. Most people get better without a specific therapy.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica, known as lumboischialghia, is a neuralgia that primary is characterized with pain in the parts of the body commanded by n. ischiadicus.
- ischiadicus is the biggest nerve in the human body, that starts in the lower back and sends signals to the under knee part and the foot.
The main symptom is a sharp pain with a feeling of tingles, weakness, torpor and solidifying. In most cases it occurs on one leg, from the lower back to the leg.
Certain body positions can influence the pain intensity, by which the pain is lowered with standing straight, walking, squatting, or bending, while in horizontal position the pain is lowered or totally gone.
There are many reasons for this type of neuralgia. The most often are:
- Piriformis syndrome – the piriformis muscle is deep in the gluteal region and is right above the nerve ischiadicus. If there is a spasm of this muscle, it can put a pressure on the nerve and can cause symptoms of sciatica. The most often reasons for spasm are long periods of sitting and low physical activity. But, it can also occur after some physical activities like running or riding bike, if you don’t stretch by doing this activities.
- Spinal disc herniation in the lumbal part – the inner central part of the disc can herniate and make pressure on the nerve and cause pain.
- Degenerative illness of the intervertebral disc in the lumbal part. – degeneration of the discs is a normal process while ageing and at certain people it may make pressure in the lumbal part on the n. ischidaicus and cause pain.
- Infections, tumor or injury.
- Pregnancy – the changes of the body in pregnancy like gaining weight, pressure of the child and hormonal changes can lead to sciatica.
- Spondylolisthesis – a condition in which one bone in your back (vertebra) slides forward over the bone below it. It most often occurs in the lower spinewhich makes pressure on the n. ischiadicus.
Also, the sciatica can occur in a moment as a result of some illness, like diabetes.
For a sciatica diagnosis, we need to primary make a good anamnesis and a detailed physical exam.
In order to determine the cause for sciatica, in some cases we need additional tests like electromyogram, X – rays, computer tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.
There are several options for treatment of sciatica depending on the causer that lead to the symptoms and their intensity.
- Cold and warm layers – put a cold or warm layer on the painful area and let it work for 20 minutes. Repeat this for 2 hours. The people that suffer from sciatica use mostly cold layers, even though at some the results may be better with a warm layer. So, experiment and find out which type of layer will help you more.
- Medicine – pills against pain, muscle relaxations and in some cases corticotherapy may be needed.
- Physical activity – for this illness the most important is the physical activity. But, depending on the health condition and the degree of the illness, some exercises are not recommended. That is why you need to consult a doctor and stick to the recommendations. It is important to know that the physical activity is not recommended if the pain is too strong. After the pain is gone, you can do easy exercises.
- Surgical treatment – in certain cases, the only option is a surgical intervention, which luckily isn’t needed by many patients.