what is sciatica and how to treat itWhat is Sciatica and how to treat it?

Sciatica is a pain in the nerve affecting the back, hip, and outer side of the leg, caused by compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back, usually due to prolapse of an intervertebral disk. It is also known as sciatic neuritis, sciatic neuralgia, or lumbar radiculopathy.

Symptoms of Sciatica:

  • Pain in lower back, buttocks and in different parts of foot or leg
  • A sensation of tingling or prickling, such as pins and needles, occurring in the leg or foot

Causes of Sciatica:

  • Intervertebral disk prolapse
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Space-occupying lesion

Treatment for Sciatica:

Sciatica can be self-treated but before that evaluate the cause to avoid potentially dangerous conditions. If the cause is minor then the pain will go away itself. If not,

  • You can take anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
  • Ice and heat packs also come in handy. Ice packs should be used for 5 to 10 minutes for one time and can be repeated 3 to 5 times a day for 2 to 3 days if the pain is acute.
  • Maintain a low level of physical activity. Increase it as the pain reduces. However, heavy weight lifting is not recommended for at least 6 weeks from the first time you have had pain.
  • Forward bending and twisting movements are prohibited.
  • Exercises are to be resumed only after 12 weeks. The focus should be more on building strength and flexibility into abdominal and spinal muscles.
  • Physiotherapy is recommended for achieving pain relief and flexibility at a much brisk rate.

Tips for Sciatica:

  • Don’t sit for more than 20 minutes. Get up and move around for some time.
  • Don’t bend forward, even for simple tasks like leaning over a sink to wash your face.
  • Do gentle exercises.
  • Do cycling and swimming as a part of your rehabilitation but under the guidance of your physiotherapist.
  • Be more careful while running, as it can cause compression through the spine and might make pain worse.

For further explanation and treatment regarding Sciatica,  contact our Physiotherapists.