Sciatica, or back pain caused by the irritation of or injury to the sciatic nerve, is something that will surely happen to almost half of everyone you know. It can be a minor issue, or it can be crippling pains that can make a person miss work. However, there are some possible treatments.
What is the sciatic nerve?
The sciatic nerve is a neural highway that comes down both sides of the lower spine. It travels through the pelvis and buttocks, after which the nerve passes along the back of the legs, dividing at the knee into branches that reach all the way to the feet. You could say that the sciatic nerve is part of the mechanism that makes your whole lower body move.
What causes sciatic nerve pain?
Simply put, any pressure or minor injury that can irritate this nerve will cause pain. Regardless of the actual levels of pain, sufferers will feel like a bolt of pain that foes down the lower spine and straight into the buttocks or thighs.
The pain can range from vague discomfort to a sharp, burning sensation. The term “bolt of pain” accurately describes the more severe manifestations of sciatic nerve pain.
How do we deal with this?
Posture – Preventing sciatic nerve pain is relatively easy. All you have to do is read up on what the best sitting or working positions for you are, and then making sure that you put as little stress on your back – particularly your lower back – as possible. You should also try having informal or integrated exercise routines for your lower back. That way, you build up more muscle support for your back, decreasing the chances for sciatic pain.
Home remedies – If you feel that you have occasional bouts of sciatic pain, do make sure that you have hot and cold packs ready. Ask your physician what would be best for you. After that, it’s a good idea to have a seat or bed ready that can help you put pressure off your lower back and most of the sciatic nerve pathways.
Medical relief – If you feel that your attacks are becoming a regular thing, then the best option is to visit your doctor. He or she will be able to pinpoint the causes of your sciatic pain, and prescribe the right kinds of medicines, which can include the following:
– Over-the-counter pain relief medicines, such as acetaminophen and aspirin, or drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen
– Prescription muscle relaxants that can deal with muscle spasms
– Antidepressants to deal with the effects of chronic back pain
– Prescription drugs for extreme pain
Other methods – Some doctors feel that a steroid injection into the space around the spinal nerve can work wonders, particularly if the sciatic nerve pain is accompanied by a herniated or ruptured disc. Aside from that, some doctors will suggest surgery as a final option, it is important that you talk with your doctor to find out what the risks and benefits are. It may be that you might be better off with long-term therapy or pain medication, rather than surgery.