Published on Dec 14, 2017 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2018 - 2 min read
Sciatica is a set of symptoms caused by the compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, described as a shooting pain starting from the lower back and extending down the back of each leg. Various different conditions can cause this pain. The pain of sciatica is very distressing, often making it difficult to sit, stand, or walk. This article talks about the various causes of pain in the area and how they can be managed.
Sciatica pain is described as pain in the area of distribution of the sciatic nerve (that is, around the buttocks, the posterior thigh, the posterior lower-leg and also the feet) as a result of continuous irritation of the nerve. It is not a specific condition. The pain around the region of the nerve can be caused by various factors.
What Causes Sciatica?
In youth, sciatica pain is commonly due to a damage to the spinal disc leading to swelling around the sciatic nerve.
Occasionally, it might be caused by pressure coming from a prolapsed or slipped disc.
In elderly people, sciatic nerve pain may be due to compression of the sciatic nerve by ligaments or a bone.
There are several other causes of sciatica pain such as prolonged sitting at the desk, pregnancy, dehydration, spinal degeneration, and so on.
More common causes of sciatica pain include herniated disc, lumbar spinal stenosis, and piriformis syndrome.
Whenever you experience symptoms of sciatica pain, it is essential to get evaluated by your physician to determine the cause.
What Causes Sciatica During Pregnancy?
It is unlikely for pregnancy to be the cause of sciatica. Pregnancy-related changes can give you pelvic aches and back discomfort, although not sciatica pain. Sciatica pain is not caused by your baby pressing on a nerve. A majority of women who believe they may have sciatica pain in pregnancy, in reality, have pelvic girdle pain (PGP).
How Is Sciatica Diagnosed?
Sciatica pain is diagnosed through imaging either with a CT (computerized tomography) scan or with an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Another variation of MRI, known as MR neurography may help diagnose piriformis syndrome which is another cause of sciatica not involving disc herniation.
How Is Sciatica Treated?
Your physician may refer you to a physiotherapist who specializes in pain-relief exercise. If your back is stiff, your physiotherapist may use manual therapy and, in some cases, manipulation.
Specific postures of Yoga can provide beneficial results to the patients of sciatica as well. The different poses not just help in relieving the pain, but help maintain the shape of your body and tone of your muscles too.
The pain of sciatica is very distressing, often making it difficult to sit, stand, or walk. Sometimes, it is accompanied by a tingling or burning sensation passing down the leg. The pain may be continuous or intermittent and varies in intensity from mild to severe. Exercise is an efficient way to overcome the agony caused by sciatica pain.
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