What is the Sciatic Nerve?
The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the human body. It runs from the lower back (lumbar spine), through the pelvis, down the back of each of your legs. It has many branches that deviate from it. It contains sensory neurons and motor neurons which means it serves two purposes; it allows the muscles to feel and to move. Sciatica is a term that describes the symptoms of any condition caused by irritation or compression of nerve roots based in the sciatic nerve.
What Causes Sciatica?
Common lower back problems can cause these sciatica symptoms. This includes a lumbar herniated disc, spondylolisthesis (slipping of the vertebra in the base of the spine), degenerative disc disease, lumbar osteophytes (bone spurs on a vertebra), or spinal stenosis (the narrowing of the spinal canal that causes the nerve to get pinched). These can lead to inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.
Symptoms of Sciatica
Many people often misunderstand what sciatica is and mistake it for regular back pain. But it is not, it is much different. The pain is originating from the sciatic nerves when they become damaged, pinched or irritated.
Damage or trauma to the sciatic nerve can result in many painful symptoms. When this happens to the nerve or nerve root, it can cause pain, weakness, or numbness. The pain can radiate from the lower back (lumbar spine) where the sciatic nerve is located, and through the lower limbs. This pain in your rear can worsen if you try to sit down. This shooting pain can also make it difficult for people to stand up. The pain on the effected side of your rear will be constant and almost unbearable. It can lead to weakness, pain and difficulty moving your leg or foot. Some people may experience a burning sensation in the leg as well as pain the hip.
Most of the risk factors for sciatica are totally preventable. Obesity creates stress on your spine that can lead to many lower back problems that will trigger sciatica. It is best to maintain a healthy weight in order to avoid these painful symptoms. Your job also plays a huge roll. Occupations that require you to twist often, bend over a lot, carry heavy loads, or drive for long distances might contribute to sciatica pain. Also, people with jobs that require them to sit for a long time or if they simply live a sedentary life, they are at a higher risk than active people. To avoid this, stand up and take breaks as often as possible and get plenty of exercise. The natural aging process can contribute to many issues in your spine. The best thing a person can do to counteract this is stay active, maintain a healthy weight, and control your blood sugar to avoid getting diabetes which can contribute to nerve damage.
Treatment for Sciatica
It is important to realize that sciatica is a description of symptoms and not a disease itself, and therefore, treatment will be aimed at treating the cause, not just masking the pain. We treat all the symptoms of sciatica at KureSmart Pain Management, reducing the pain our patients experience and allowing them to continue their daily activities. Contact KureSmart Pain Management to schedule a consultation to start treating your sciatica today.