What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a medical condition characterized by pain that radiates from the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve starts from the lower back and branches through the hips, buttocks and down the legs.
What Causes Sciatica and Low Back Pain?
Sciatica generally occurs when there’s compression on some part of the sciatic nerve. This compression is often caused by a herniated disk, a bone spur on the spine or a narrowing of the spine.Some risk factors associated with sciatica include:
Obesity — Excess body weight can bear down on the spine, leading to spinal alterations that can cause sciatica.
Sedentary Lifestyle — People with a sedentary lifestyle where they sit for long periods at a time are at risk of developing sciatica.
Age — Spine alterations are often caused by ageing. These include herniated disks and bone spurs implicated in sciatica and lower back pain.
Diabetes — Diabetes, a condition that affects the body’s sugar regulation, can increase your chances of developing sciatica.
Strenuous Physical Jobs — Jobs that demand heavy lifting can put pressure on your lower back. Thus, it increases your risk of developing lower back pain and sciatica.
Osteoarthritis — Osteoarthritis can damage your spinal structure and nerves, including the sciatic nerve.
What are the Symptoms?
Patients suffering from sciatica report pain that travels from the lower spine to the buttock and down the back of the leg. The pain is generally felt along the sciatic nerve path. For some people, the pain is mild. But for some others, the pain can be intense and almost unbearable. Sometimes, the pain feels like a sharp burning sensation or an electric shock.
Sciatic pain often worsens when you sneeze, cough or sit in one place for a prolonged period. And more often than not, the condition affects only one side of the body. In some instances, the symptoms include tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the affected areas. You may also feel numbness in one part of the leg and tingling in another part.
Treating Sciatica and Lower Back Pain
Sciatica treatment focuses on relieving pain and increasing spinal mobility. The good news is that most cases of sciatica resolve overtime with adequate treatment. However chronic cases may require surgery and more intensive care. Here are some simple ways you can treat sciatica and the resulting lower back pain:
- 1. Chiropractic Care
Chiropractors can help decompress a compressed spine and adjust the spine. This method of treatment alleviates the symptoms of sciatica to a great extent. In fact, chiropractic care is one of the most effective methods of treating sciatica.
Chiropractors use special equipment called “Back on Trac” to decompress the spine. The machine gives lasting relief and it’s non-invasive. It takes just 12 minutes and feels oh-so-fantastic!
- 2. Gentle Stretches
Performing gentle stretches can help minimize lower back pain. Work with a seasoned instructor who knows how to tackle lower back pain. Perform muscle and core strengthening exercises and aerobic exercises.