Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve gets inflamed or irritated. It is characterized by pain and sometimes tenderness, weakness or numbness from lower part of the back down to the thighs, legs and feet. Sciatica pain normally starts from the buttocks or sometimes, from the lower back going downward along the flow of the sciatic nerve.
A herniated disc or a bulging in the lower lumbar disc primarily causes sciatica. The damaged disc will then press on the nerve roots irritating the sciatic nerve. At times when the irritation gets so severe, thus, resulting to a burning pain that may involve the entire nerve. Take for example an irritated or pinched nerve near your knee. From this, you may experience pain in your hip or buttock area.
Another stimulating factor for sciatica pain is called Piriformis syndrome. Piriformis muscle runs from the sacrum side, to the upper thigh bone at hip joint. It passes over the sciatic nerve. If a tight or short piriformis is stretched out, it can condense the sciatic nerve. Since the piriformis muscle serves for the leg to rotate outwardly, those who keep on standing on their toes are prone to developing the Piriformis syndrome, same with cyclists and runners. These two athletes tend to over stretch and use their piriformis muscle.
Sciatica pain is the typical sign of a herniated disc. It is best manifested by an extreme pain in the thigh area, then the lower leg and foot, rather than starts in the low part of the back. Simple motions or routine such as lifting, bending over, straining, standing up, or sitting down may aggravate sciatica pain.
Sciatica pain is best treated with rest, giving the nerve some time to reduce its swelling. For some cases where pain is almost too much to bear, medical prescriptions are then given to alleviate the pain somehow. Such medicinal drugs are muscle relaxants and analgesics. Anesthetic agents may also be injected in some areas within the spinal cord. For serious cases that do not react to whatever form of non-invasive treatments, surgery is the option.
With the rise of medical technology, new surgical methods and techniques are now being practiced in favor for relieving sciatica pain related conditions. Critical procedures include microsurgery, percutaneous disc fragment removal. So far, the outcomes were mostly successful. However, not everybody suffering from sciatica pain can get just any type of medical treatment, much more surgery. Doctors are trained to examine first the patient before doing any diagnosis and treatments to avoid more serious complications.
Physical therapy techniques are often used by others to be able to cope with the distress of sciatica pain. But this is done with careful supervision of a medical professional or with your doctor’s consent. Many sciatica patients are advised to develop their core muscles to easily overcome the painful effects of a herniated or ruptured disc. These core muscles are referred to a group of four muscles found in the waist area. Keeping the strength of these muscles are beneficial in holding the disc to its proper place.