Sciatic nerve pain – Signs, causes, and treatment methods Health

Sciatic nerve pain – Signs, causes, and treatment methods

When any of the nerves in the lower back pinches, compresses or gets inflamed, it causes sciatic nerve pain. The most common cause of this sciatic nerve pain is a slipped disc that leads to pressure on the nerve root. Any kind of injury, friction, and irritation to the sciatic nerve can cause sciatic pain. It is believed that this nerve is the longest and thickest nerve in the body.

Signs of sciatic nerve pain

Discomfort in the lower back
Whenever one feels any discomfort along the nerve pathway, i.e., from the lower spine to the buttock and down the back of the leg, this is the first sign of sciatic nerve pain. It can be a mild ache, cause cramps, be excruciatingly painful, or lead to a burning sensation.

Those with this condition might feel numbness or tingling muscle weakness in the area that is affected. They might experience pain in one part of the leg and numbness in another.

Other common signs
Other signs and symptoms include hip pain, shooting lower back pain, constant pain in one side of the rear, and numbness in the legs.

Causes of sciatic nerve pain

Sciatica is mainly caused due to irritation to the roots of the lower lumbar. A few common causes are mentioned below:

Herniated discs
One of the most common causes of sciatica is a herniated disc. It is a rubber-like disc in between the vertebrae in the lower back. Irritation or compression of sciatic nerve roots causes sciatica.

Bone spurs
If the bone on the vertebrae grows, it causes pressure on sciatic nerve roots.

Spinal stenosis
The narrowing of the space through which the spinal cord and sciatic nerve roots travel causes compression.

Degenerative disc disease
Sometimes due to age, vertebral discs may start to wear down. If the disc becomes too thin, the space between each vertebra becomes compressed, putting pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Vertebral fracture
Sciatic nerve pain is also caused if any part of the vertebra cracks or fractures.

The vertebrae are designed one over the other. If a vertebra in the lower back slips forward, the lower one can press down on the sciatic nerve. This can be quite painful and trigger sciatic nerve pain.

Treatment methods to manage sciatic nerve pain

Most people with sciatica feel better after home remedies and self-help activities.

Using cold or hot packs
A doctor or physiotherapist might recommend that those with this condition use cold packs on the lower back for a couple of days and switch to hot packs for a few days afterward.

Over-the-counter pain medication
Some of these are muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory and anti-seizure medications such as naproxen and acetaminophen. A doctor might ask one to take medicines if the pain worsens and doesn’t go away after a few hours.

Special sciatica stretches
Doing these daily helps relax muscles and relieve pain. Muscle inflammation can cause the muscles to press against the sciatic nerve, triggering pain.

Physical therapy
Those who experience frequent bouts of pain should get in touch with a physical therapist to perform special exercises to improve posture.

Steroid injections
A specialist might recommend steroid injections such as cortisone shots. In some cases, the patient may be advised to take oral steroids to tackle the condition.

Surgery in most health disorders is usually the last option. Initially, doctors try to treat the condition through medication, exercises, etc. In case one does not respond to non-surgical treatment methods, they will have to undergo surgery.

One might feel that they need to take some rest, but it is better to keep moving. If they don’t move for a long time, the nerve in that spot will be irritated. If one keeps moving, it helps relax muscles and reduce inflammation.

The excellent news about sciatic nerve pain is that sciatica goes away with time if one takes proper care and medicines. Those with this condition also need to be very careful of their posture; otherwise, the condition can become worse. The most crucial step is to get in touch with a good doctor to ensure there are no complications and determine the underlying cause of the sciatica pain.