Are you suffering from the pain that extends from lower back region to leg? Then it means you might be suffering from “Sciatica”. Ever heard of this condition? Here we have also enclosed a detailed description of what is sciatica, sciatica treatment options, and preventions. You can confirm your health problems with the symptoms given below.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is not a disease. It is a symptom which describes the pain that occurs along the pathway of sciatic nerve where it gives the nerve supply. It includes from the lower back region to the buttocks and leg. Its medical term is Lumbar Radiculopathy. You can feel the radiating pain or numbness which radiates from lower back to the leg. It also causes weakness in the affected region.
Symptoms of Sciatica
Of course, sciatica is the symptomatic condition with a shooting and aggressive leg pain so that it makes you difficult to either sit or stand. Pain below the knee is the most important symptom of sciatica. This pain seems to be associated with lower back pain through the buttock and down to one of the legs. You may feel the tingling and numbness on your legs. Sometimes you can experience the pain in your feet and toes. This condition worsens while you sneeze or cough and also with prolonged sitting.
Treatment Options for Sciatica
As the pain of sciatica is severe, it’s obligatory to get sciatica pain treatment before the condition worsens. There are numerous treatment options for sciatica which are listed below one by one in detail.
1. Non-Surgical Methods
Usually, sciatica pain resolves within a few weeks by undergoing these non-surgical methods and it is considered as the first line of treatment. This conservative treatment consists of hot and cold compression at the side of discomfort along with pain medications and exercise and aids in alleviating the pain and discomfort thereby engaging you for the normal activities.
It is one of the best sciatica treatments at home and it’s a cost-effective treatment method. Application of ice at the affected region reduces the swelling and pain. It reduces the inflammation and creates numbness over the painful tissues thereby reducing pain in the sciatic nerve. It seems to be an effective method for treating sciatica.
You can apply ice or cold packs for 2 to 7 days when the pain is intense. Gently apply ice on the affected region in a circular motion. Cold compression should be done for about 3 to 6 minutes until you feel the numbness. At this time, give gentle movements which stretch out the sciatic nerve that releases the compression of the nerve. Repeat this procedure thrice in a day for better relief.
Hot compression is an affordable therapy for sciatica treatment. This heat therapy reduces the tension of muscles and spasms. Heat has the capability to dilate the blood vessels which increases the blood flow thereby raising the oxygen supply at that particular region. Increased oxygen supply aids in healing.
Hot compression should be given after the sharp and intense pain resolves. Apply heat for about 3 to 7 days for a better outcome.
Even though you are following certain sciatica treatments at home, it’s advisable to go with medications which alleviate pain. The oral medications comprise of:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – When the pain occurs due to the inflammatory condition of the spinal nerve, the NSAIDs are quite effective in relieving pain. It includes Aspirin, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, COX-2 inhibitors such as Celebrex.
- Stronger painkillers like opioids when the intensity of pain is severe.
- Muscle relaxants (cyclobenzaprine) which relieve muscle tension and spasms.
- Tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline).
- Steroid injections namely corticosteroids can be injected to the irritated nerve that provides you with limited relief by reducing the swelling and inflammation of nerve roots.
- Anti-seizure medications.
An individual suffering from sciatica pain and remained at bed rest will get the back muscles weak and deconditioned. This causes strain and back injury, increasing pain and reducing support for the back. Inactivity makes the pain worsen, so the physical therapy helps well for sciatica which soothes the pain. Exercises are important to maintain the spinal disc health and strengthen the back muscles to provide more support for the back.
Active movements improve the nutrients and fluids exchange within the discs, preventing pressure on the sciatic nerve. There are several sciatica treatment exercises that not only reduce pain but also prevent the further recurrences of pain.
Moreover, undergoing wrong physical therapies can worsen the situation. Consult a trained certified physical therapist who prescribes specific exercises for treating sciatica and make you comfort.
There are certain stretching exercises for your lower back region and this stretching exercise gets you relief by relieving the nerve compression. It is better to get a consult with the doctor before going with the stretching exercises.
Perform the stretch exercises below, everyday and hold on these stretches for 30 seconds
- knees to chest
- knee to shoulder
- standing hamstring stretch
- cobra or modified cobra
- seated hip stretch
- seated spinal twist
If these stretches or the exercises make the condition worse, immediately stop doing it and check with your physiotherapist or the general physician.
2. Surgical Methods
Some people can get only temporary relief using first-line treatments. When over-the-counter options don’t help, only the surgical intervention takes in charge to relieve you from sciatica. People require surgical treatment when the pain persists for more than 6 weeks along with the loss of bowel or bladder control (equina syndrome) and the limitations in participating with the day-to-day activities.
The surgical method involves removing the bone which compresses the sciatic nerve. It is considered to be the best treatment for sciatica for immediate relief. Based on the causes and duration of the sciatica pain, one of the two surgical methods will be considered:
Microdiscectomy is a small open surgical procedure that involves the removal of a bone spur or herniated disc which is compressing the sciatic nerve causing pain. The surgeons might remove the entire herniated disk or the partial one where the rest of the disc is left intact.
It is considered as a minimally invasive procedure where the irritant on the sciatic nerve is removed. The recovery process for microdiscectomy is too short. Microdiscectomy provides 90% of patients with good relief from sciatica pain.
The lamina is a bone that curves around the spinal cord and covers it. When this bone put pressure on the sciatic nerve, then laminectomy is indicated.
Laminectomy is the surgical removal of lamina bone to relieve the pressure on sciatic nerve thereby reducing pain. This procedure involves a larger incision, so the recovery duration is quiet long. You will undergo this surgical procedure on general anesthesia and you will be discharged on the day of surgery.
Some patients come out of this health issue and get comfort when they undergo both of the surgical methods. These two surgical procedures provide you with immediate relief from pain. The prognosis rate for the surgical method is high.
There are no specific measures in order to prevent sciatica. Only lifestyle modifications can have an impact on reducing the risk of developing sciatica. Regular and correct exercise, yoga with right postures, sitting, standing and sleeping positions make you stay out of this condition.
Hope, you have got a good knowledge of this condition. Sciatica treatment at home helps you to manage it successfully to reach a comfort zone. You are now aware of the surgical procedures for sciatica pain treatment to get out of the pain right away.