Sciatica

Sciatica Pain Symptoms Are Unlike Any Other Symptoms

Sharp, Shooting Pain is One of the Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica refers to the pain that is felt when the sciatic nerve is injured, which starts in the lower back and can travel all the way down to your foot. It is a very sharp and shooting type of pain, often described as an electric sensation.

Sciatica pain may worsen when you move your leg. The worst thing about sciatica is that the pain doesn’t have to be sharp; it can also be burning, tingling (a feeling as if ants are crawling on you). Sciatica could also be accompanied by a feeling of weakness.

Why Do These Symptoms Appear in Sciatica?

Your sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in your body. This nerve starts its journey in the area of your lumbar spine (your lower spine) and then passes through the vertebrae, pelvis, hip joint, the back and side of your leg and foot.

When your sciatic nerve is squeezed, it cries out with sciatica symptoms. This nerve wants you to know that its health will not be ignored!

The sciatic nerve can be squeezed when a vertebrae moves after a trauma to the area. The compression of the nerve can also occur when discs of the vertebrae it passes through collapse or are degenerated. Link to disc herniation page Pressure on a nerve anywhere in your body will cause similar types of symptoms in the body parts that the nerve innervates. For example, think of the pain when you hit your funny bone. That is the ulnar nerve causing the pain in the same fashion as sciatica.

Sciatic nerve symptoms can also occur when muscles nearby contract tightly, which puts pressure on the nerve. The piriformis muscle is one of the muscles that can squeeze the sciatic nerve, and when this muscle is involved, then sciatica will occur. Even just having weak muscles along the sciatic nerve is enough to inflame the sciatic nerve.

Some of the other causes of sciatica are:

• Sitting crookedly – this could be from something as simple as sitting on your wallet.

• Twisting activities such as what happens in tennis and golf

• Ruptured herniated disc

How is Sciatica Diagnosed?

Sciatica pain is not usually misdiagnosed because the symptoms give away its diagnosis to any trained medical doctor or chiropractor. The evaluation of symptoms, however, may rarely be accompanied by x-rays and a CAT scan.

Sciatica Treatment

Traditional medical doctors have a whole range of sciatica treatments that can help you alleviate the pain of sciatica.

  1. Pain medications or anti-inflammatory agents to decrease pain. Hyperlink to medications page
  1. Muscle relaxants. In advanced cases, Botoxin injections may be used; by relaxing the muscles quickly, the sciatica symptoms can be reduced. In other cases, trigger point injections with local anesthetics can be used, too. These will force the muscles to relax.
  1. Epidural injections with steroids and / or nerve blocks may be used.
  1. Physical therapy. Ink to Physical Therapist page  By using modalities such as hot and cold packs, electrostimulation of the muscles, ultrasound, and exercises that strengthen weak muscles, it’s entirely possible that your recovery time could be shortened.
  1. TENS units are small little boxes that have wires leading to pads that are placed on your hurting muscles. By contracting and relaxing the muscles, you are able to decrease pain.
  1. Traction. Stretching out the spine often removes extra pressure on your spine and nerves.
  1. Laser decompression is a surgical procedure that shrinks the intervertebral disc. By shrinking the disc, the pressure is taken off the sciatic nerve.
  1. Surgery.

Osteopathic/Chiropractic Treatment for Sciatica is Different From Medical Treatment

An osteopathic physician and a chiropractor will use the following treatment methods for sciatica:

1. Manipulation of the spine.

2. Decompression therapy if it is available.

3. Physical therapy modalities, including electrostimulation, ultrasound, laser therapy for pain, hot and cold packs.

4. Exercise plan to remove some of the stress on the nerve.

Less commonly, providers may suggest the following:

5. Nutritional supplements specially designed to decrease pain

6. The recommendation of drinking more water, since many types of pain respond to the body’s cry for water.

7. Anti-inflammatory herbs.

8. Recommendation of the Anti-Inflammation Diet to decrease inflammation of the sciatic nerve