Back pain, unfortunately, has many different causes and presentation in the body. What is sciatica, though? Sciatica–a form of pain that is felt in the legs, buttocks, and back–can be an especially prevalent form of pain for many patients.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a pain symptom that is felt when the sciatic nerve is irritated or inflamed.
Since the sciatic nerve runs all the way down the spinal cord and the legs, the pain follows and may be felt as tingling or numbness in the legs and feet, as well as pain up through the lower back and buttocks. This pain is normally caused by a herniated or slipped disc that impact the sciatic nerve, though it can also be caused by:
- Extreme forms of chronic low back pain
- Pinched nerves
- Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal that can put pressure on the nerves
- Piriformis syndrome, spasms in the piriformis muscle
- Spondylolisthesis, vertabrae that slip one over the other
What is sciatica caused by?
Unfortunately, for many people today, sciatica pain can be exacerbated by long bouts of sitting. While there are multiple treatment options, the first preventative step for many office workers is to remain as active as possible during the day and to take short breaks from sitting. Other simple changes can also have a big impact on sciatica pain, including exercise, proper eating, massages, or physical therapy. Alternative therapies like yoga and acupuncture have also been shown to help people with sciatica pain.
People with more advanced sciatica pain may be able to find some relief with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like aspirin or ibuprofen, or interventional procedures like epidural steroid injections, Botox injections, spinal cord stimulation, or intrathecal pump implants. With any form of pain, it’s best to talk with your doctor before undergoing any new treatment or exercise plan. He or she can help you find the best options for your pain symptoms.
Do you suffer from sciatica? What treatments have been effective for helping you manage your pain?