How To Stop Sciatica Pain

Pain in the hip, buttocks, and leg is known as sciatica. More specifically, pain along one or both legs caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve is called sciatica. The condition occurs when the lumbar spine (lower back) experiences pressure which irritates a nerve root coming from that section of the spine. Pressure on this nerve root results in pain primarily in the lower back, but also radiating down through the buttocks and into one or both legs. The sciatica symptoms include pain, declining reflexes, loss of balance, loss f bladder function, numbness or tingling in the lower back/buttocks/legs. The symptoms can be quite severe and often last for days or even weeks at a time.

Causes of Sciatica Pain

Sciatica pain can be caused by a number of factors. In most cases, the condition is experienced after a person’s lower back experiences direct pressure on a nerve root. This may result from spinal disc herniation or spinal stenosis, which narrows the spinal canal and compresses a nerve root coming out of the spine. Also, loss of muscle tone in the muscles supporting the lower back while standing can cause sciatica pain. Additional causes include:

– Spinal tumor
A tumor in the spine itself may also cause sciatica pain. The tumor compresses nerve roots, resulting in symptoms of sciatica.

– Spinal infections
Infections such as tuberculosis and fungal infections can also lead to the development of sciatica symptoms. These infections typically result from conditions that weaken a person’s immune system, such as AIDS and cancer.

– Skeletal irregularities
If the spine or hip bone is abnormally shaped, such as with scoliosis or a protruding disc, it may cause sciatica pain as the spinal nerves come under pressure from irregularly shaped bones.

-Herniated discs
Although not a cause of sciatica, herniated discs form another potential source of the condition. The spinal discs act as cushions between the vertebrae and help absorb pressure from movements such as lifting. When a disc herniates, it can press against nerve roots in the lower back to cause symptoms of sciatica.

-Degenerative disc disease
Degenerative disc disease is another potential cause of sciatica pain. As the condition progresses and the discs wear down, they place added pressure on nerve roots, resulting in sciatica.

People who are overweight or obese may also experience sciatica pain. The added strain on the lumbar spine from carrying excess weight can damage discs and other tissues in the area, leading to pressure on nerve roots and symptoms of sciatica.

-Prolonged sitting
Sitting in a chair with poor back support for long periods can also cause sciatica, as the muscles supporting the lower spine relax and allow it to sag. This can result in pressure on nerve roots and symptoms of sciatica.

How To Stop Sciatica Pain

-Regular Exercise
Sciatica pain can be effectively managed with regular exercise. Yoga is an excellent option for people who experience sciatica, as the poses stretch and strengthen the spine while improving flexibility to decrease pressure on nerve roots. The Alexander technique is another alternative, which helps retrain proper posture and reduce pressure on nerves in the lumbar region of the spine.

-Physical Therapy
There are also other exercises that can be done to manage sciatica pain. An example is the hip shift, which stretches the piriformis muscle in the buttocks by moving the leg across the midline of the body while lying on one’s back. The person should relax their hips and knees so that the crossed leg can be shifted to the opposite side of the body and slowly reversed back to the middle. The person should then switch legs and repeat as desired.

-Maintaining proper sitting posture
People who experience sciatica pain should also be mindful of their sitting posture. Proper support for the lower back is essential to reducing strain on inflamed tissues and nerve roots, which can help manage symptoms of sciatica. It is important not to slouch or sit in a chair with poor lumbar support.

-Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Taking over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, is another option for managing sciatica pain. As with any medication to relieve pain and inflammation symptoms, these medications should only be taken according to instructions and discontinued when the condition no longer requires treatment.

-Getting Enough Sleep
Staying well-rested is another way to manage and relieve sciatica pain. When the body is tired, it can cause muscle tightness and make it harder for muscles to support the spine, worsening pressure on nerve roots and inflamed tissues and leading to increased sciatica symptoms. Also, adequate sleep can prevent obesity, which is associated with significant back pain.

In rare cases, surgery may be required to relieve sciatica pain. There are three different types of surgical interventions that can decompress nerve roots and tissue, which helps eliminate sciatica by reducing pressure on the affected nerves. Each type of surgery has its own risks and benefits.

Sciatica pain is preventable by leading a healthy lifestyle that includes maintaining proper weight, engaging in regular exercise, getting sufficient sleep, and others. If you happen to come from Birmingham or Alabama and are struggling with Sciatica pain, please book an appointment with us by calling us at 205-637-1363.

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