The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve of the human body, starting from the pelvis, through the buttocks, going down the legs, ending at the feet. Sciatica is any pain caused by impingement, compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve root in the lumbar spine. Sciatica usually ranges from mild to severe and is not just limited to the back. Sciatica is a pernicious condition and it has been reported to occur in 1 to 10% of the population and is most frequently diagnosed in people age 25 to 45 years.
When the disc that supports and cushions the vertebrae develops a crack or a tear, the softer, gel-like substance contained inside bulges and protrudes and presses against the sciatic nerve. The majority of the cases of sciatica are caused by a slipped disc.
This is a narrowing of the passage of the spinal cord. This then compresses the sciatic nerve.
This occurs when a vertebra slips forward over another vertebra and out of position. The slipped vertebra then compresses the sciatic nerve thus sciatica occurs.
The growth of tumors along the spine, especially on the lower back where the sciatic nerve root is located, can compress the sciatic nerve.
The bundle of nerves that lead out from the end of the spine is called the cauda equina. When these nerves are damaged or compressed, then cauda equina syndrome occurs. This is a rare condition that could lead to paralysis if left untreated.
Spinal manipulation relieves the pain felt while restoring the normal spinal alignment, alleviating the pressure on the nerves. Many sciatica sufferers experience relief when they
regularly visit a chiropractor. Normal flexibility is restored to the injured area and inflammation is reduced, promoting the natural healing mechanisms of the body.
Moving and exercising is usually difficult to accomplish due to sciatica debilitating mobility restrictions, but exercise remains an essential component of a comprehensive treatment regimen. Blood flow to the disk and the nerve is increased with exercise and movement. This then helps to remove the chemicals that cause the inflammation. Figuring out a means of exercise that isn’t too painful is truly essential. Consulting a physical therapist is also worth it to learn the different exercises that you could do to strengthen your core muscles and restore flexibility.
Though these compression packs do not ease the inner inflammation, this helps provide relief by acting as a counterirritant. It gives the body another soothing influence to the painful area, thus relieving the pain.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are recommended to ease the distress. Doctors may also prescribe muscle relaxants for the painful muscle spasms. These medications do not help with the pain caused by the pressure on the nerve, however.
Steroid injections are given in the hope to reduce inflammation within the nerve branch. The effects typically wear off in a few months, and the injections are limited to three shots a year due to the concerns about side effects of these drugs.
Surgery is usually done for herniated discs and tumors. It is usually warranted for severe pain that is not relieved by other treatment options.
The pain of sciatica can be really crippling for some people who have this syndrome. With the proper lifestyle and health care management, this condition can be managed and life can still be lived fully.