Sciatica Pain

Sciatica pain isSciatica Pain quite agonizing. Sciatica is rather different as compared to other lower back pain, specifically in the way that pain is felt. Sciatica pain has a somewhat dull characteristic feel in the buttocks or a sharp pain that shoots out and travels down the lower leg. Symptoms can also include a numbness or tingling sensation (the feeling of getting pricked by needles) and you can feel this in your foot. Sciatica starts in a nerve in the lower back. This nerve is called the sciatic nerve.

You are most likely experiencing sciatica pain if you frequently experience pain in only one leg or buttock, and hip pain as well. It normally worsens as you sit. As mentioned above, you feel a burning or tingling sensation down you leg which is rather similar to the feeling of being pricked by needles. You may sometimes find it hard to move the affected leg or foot. You may even have trouble with standing or walking.

What Is Sciatica Pain?

Sciatica is the term most of us use to describe the pain that is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. This nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It starts in the spinal cord in the lower back, runs through the buttocks and then sends nerve endings down into the leg and foot.

What Causes Sciatica Pain?

The most common cause is a herniated disc in the lower or lumbar back. However, anything that irritates or inflames the nerve can result in sciatica pain. This can include:

  • Radiculopathy
  • Adjacent tumors
  • Infections
  • Injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Pregnancy
  • Arthritis

How Is Sciatica Diagnosed?

The first clue that sciatica is pain the cause of your lower back, hip and/or leg pain is the characteristic symptoms. Your doctor will also examine you, maneuvering your hip and leg in certain ways to bring out additional symptoms felt in sciatica.

If needed, the xrays and other tests that may be ordered include the CT scan, a MRI and the electromyogram. But, most cases of sciatica are obvious upon exam.

Treatment Of Sciatica Pain

Historically, the treatment option for sciatica pain has been bed rest. Interestingly, a study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine showed the same outcome in two groups of sciatica sufferers, one group receiving instructions for bed rest and the other group receiving instructions for watchful waiting. The conclusion of the study was that bed rest is not a more effective treatment then watchful waiting.

Conservative treatment is a standard of care in situations of sciatica pain. These include treating the underlying cause, prescribing medications to relieve pain and underline inflammation, muscle relaxants and physical therapy. In addition to any of these, your doctor may order some exercises to strengthen and condition the supporting structures in the lower back.

In cases that cannot be managed with conservative treatment injectable medications may be given. These injections are typically cortisone shots which work to reduce the inflammation. In severe cases of sciatica pain surgery may be done with the goal of relieving the pressure on the nerve.

Prognosis For Sciatica Pain

Unfortunately, many cases of sciatica become a chronic condition. If you do not have it now, the best thing you can do is prevent it. This can be done through avoiding situations that may cause back injury, staying in good physical shape, keeping your weight within a healthy range and performing exercise routines such as Pilates, which work to strengthen the core muscles. Strength in the core muscles will help to support the lower back muscles and possibly prevent a future case of sciatica pain discomfort.