The term sciatica refers to leg pain, tingling or numbness that starts from the low back and travels down the back of the leg. The pain from sciatica can vary from infrequent , intermittent or constant and incapacitating.
What causes Sciatica?
Sciatica is actually a sign that you have an underlying problem putting pressure on a nerve in your lower back. The most common cause of this nerve compression is a bulging or herniated lumbar disc. Piriformis syndrome is another common cause of sciatica. The piriformis is a muscle that lies directly over the sciatic nerve. If this muscle becomes tight or if you have a spasm in this muscle, it puts pressure directly on the sciatic nerve. Occasionally, sciatic pain in men is caused by sitting on a wallet.
How do I know if I have sciatica?
Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. Sciatica may be accompanied by numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the affected leg. This pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating discomfort. Sometimes it may feel like a jolt or electric shock. Sciatic pain often starts gradually and intensifies over time. It's likely to be worse when you sit, cough or sneeze.
How can I treat sciatica.?
The first step in your treatment of sciatica is diagnosing the cause of the problem. Sometimes an MRI may be needed to diagnose the cause of sciatica. Once the proper diagnosis is made the use of ultrasound, to reduce swelling, EMS to control pain and reduce muscle spasms, and flexion distraction to alleviate pressure on the discs are usually standard treatments. Once the pain has reduced, therapeutic exercises are usually prescribed. Sciatica can become more chronic and difficult to treat the longer you have it. Don't delay in getting treatment for this painful condition. The longer the symptoms of sciatica are present the more difficult it becomes to treat.