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
- 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.