The sciatic nerve is the longest in the body, running through the hips, buttock, and legs. Therefore, sciatica pain is the inflammation, irritation, and compression of the sciatic nerve. It causes lumbar, hip, buttock, and leg pain. Sciatica pain is such a nightmare making simple chores become a difficult task. At Dayton sciatica hospital in Ohio, you will be taught the risk factors associated with sciatica, causes, symptoms, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
Who Is At Risk of Sciatica?
The following persons have a greater risk of sciatica:
· Injury to the spine or lower back.
· Aging causes bone tissues and discs in the spine to wear down.
· Overweight which leads to back strain and sprains.
· Lack of a strong core.
· Jobs that require heavy lifting increase lower back problems.
· Lack of proper posture during weight lifting and exercises.
· Diabetes which increases nerve damage.
· Osteoarthritis causes spine damage and nerve injury.
· Long periods of sitting and not exercising.
· Tobacco use which contains nicotine that damages spinal tissues, wears vertebral disks, and weakens bones.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatic nerve pain can be caused by several conditions, which are as follows:
- The herniated disk occurs when the spinal disk slips exerting pressure to the nerve root.
- Degenerative disk diseases occur when the disk between vertebrae of the spine wears down naturally.
- Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows abnormally, reducing space for the spinal cord and nerves.
- Osteoarthritis occurs in the aging spine hence compressing lower back nerves.
- Tumors and trauma to the lumbar spine compress the sciatic nerve.
- Piriformis syndrome occurs when buttock muscles spasm, putting pressure and irritating the sciatic nerve.
- Spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebra slips, causing the extended spinal bone to pinch the sciatic nerve.
- Cauda equina syndrome affects the nerve at the end of the spinal cord, causing leg pain, anal numbness, loss of bowel and bladder control.
What Are the Symptoms of Sciatica?
The sciatica signs include:
- Severe lower back pain.
- Loss of movement.
- Muscle weakness.
- Loss of bowel and bladder control and a burning sensation.
How to Prevent Sciatica?
Sciatica is prevented by performing gentle exercises, applying ice, applying hot packs, avoiding smoking, proper lifting posture, avoiding prolonged sitting and standing, losing weight, and getting treated for diabetes.
How Is Sciatica Diagnosed and Treated?
The condition is diagnosed by physical examination to check reflexes and muscle strength. Additional tests with x-ray, MRI, CT scan, myelogram, and electromyography are conducted to determine the effective treatments. The treatments are as follows:
Physical therapy- Includes stretching exercises, yoga, acupuncture, and aerobic exercise such as walking and swimming, which increases muscle flexibility by reducing pressure on the nerve.
Spinal injections- Include injection of corticosteroids, anti-inflammatory medications injected in the lower back to help reduce pain and swelling around the sciatic nerve.
Transcutaneous nerve- Stimulators and antidepressants help to reduce nerve pain.
Surgery- Can also be performed on chronic sciatica. Microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to remove a portion of the entire herniated disk.
Consult a Sciatica Specialist Today
Most people think that taking painkillers and physical exercises helps to prevent sciatica. But seeing a specialist helps to prevent future spine injuries and be well treated. Contact Dr. Woods and a team of specialists at Vertrae® and receive the right treatment.