Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from our lower back through our hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of our body.
Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disk, bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.
Although the pain associated with sciatica can be severe, most cases resolve with non-operative treatments in a few weeks.
SYMPTOMS OF SCIATICA
Pain that radiates from our lower (lumbar) spine to our buttock and down the back of our leg is the hallmark of sciatica. one might feel the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it is especially likely to follow a path from our low back to our buttock and the back of our thigh and calf.
The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating pain. Sometimes it can feel like a jolt or electric shock. It can be worse when we cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms. Usually only one side of our body is affected.
Some people also have numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. One might have pain in one part of their leg and numbness in another part.
CAUSES OF SCIATICA
Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, usually by a herniated disk in our spine or by an overgrowth of bone (bone spur) on our vertebrae. More rarely, the nerve can be compressed by a tumor or damaged by a disease such as diabetes.
Risk factors for sciatica include
- Age: Age-related changes in the spine, such as herniated disks and bone spurs, are the most common causes of sciatica.
- Obesity: By increasing the stress on our spine, excess body weight can contribute to the spinal changes that trigger sciatica.
- Occupation: A job that requires to twist our back, carry heavy loads or drive a motor vehicle for long periods might play a role in sciatica
- Prolonged sitting: People who sit for prolonged periods or have a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to develop sciatica than active people are.
- Diabetes: This condition, which affects the way our body uses blood sugar, increases our risk of nerve damage.
COMPLICATION OF SCIATICA
Although most people recover fully from sciatica, often without treatment, sciatica can potentially cause permanent nerve damage. Seek immediate medical attention if there are following condition.
- Loss of feeling in the affected leg
- Weakness in the affected leg
- Loss of bowel or bladder function
PREVENTION OF SCIATICA
It is not always possible to prevent sciatica, and the condition may recur. The following can play a key role in protecting our back.
- Exercise regularly:To keep our back strong, pay special attention to our core muscles — the muscles in our abdomen and lower back that are essential for proper posture and alignment.
- Maintain proper posture when you sit:Choose a seat with good lower back support, armrests and a swivel base. Consider placing a pillow or rolled towel in the small of back to maintain its normal curve. Keep knees and hips level.
- Use good body mechanics:If one stand for long periods,rest one foot on a stool or small box from time to time. When one lift something heavy, let the lower extremities do the work. Move straight up and down. Keep back straight and bend only at the knees. Hold the load close to body. Avoid lifting and twisting simultaneously. Find a lifting partner if the object is heavy or awkward.
HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE OF SCIATICA:
Gnaphalium, Colocynth, Hypericum, Caulophyllum, RL-15