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Sciatica: What You Must Know

 Sciatica involves back pain which is felt in the lower part of the body. Sciatica comprises a collection of symptoms for the pain in the leg. The main cause of this pain is compression or irritation of any of the five nerves that provide the sciatic nerve. It could also be the compression or irritation of the main sciatic nerve.

 Cause of Sciatica

The sciatic nerve in the leg is the largest nerve in the body. It goes from the bottom of the spine and runs along the back of the thigh to reach the knee. It then divides into branches. The pain of sciatica is caused as a result of compression of the nerve at the meeting point with the spine. It can also occur due to damage happening to the nerve. Sciatica is caused by the compression of L4 and L5 Lumbar nerves or the S1, S2 and S3 sacral nerves. It can also occur as a result of compression of the sciatic nerve. If the pain is due to compression of dorsal nerve root, the sciatica is considered to be lumbar radiculopathy from the spinal disc herniation. The pain could be from roughening, misaligning of the vertebrae or spondylolisthesis, enlarging or degenerated discs. Another form of sciatica called "Pseudo-sciatica" that has symptoms similar to that of spinal nerve root compression happens due to compression of peripheral sections of the nerves.

Sciatica in young and middle aged persons is due to prolapsed disc. In older people, the main cause of having sciatica is osteoarthritis whereby, there are changes in the spine. A simple reason for having this pain could be sitting awkwardly.

Women may have sciatica in their late pregnancy and that is caused as the uterus presses the sciatic nerve. The other reason could be the muscular tension and vertebral compression resulting from the extra weight of carrying the fetus along with postural changes that occur during pregnancy.

Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica involves pain in the leg. The pain may be felt anywhere from the buttock to the foot. It can be felt down the back side of the lag and also below the knee. This pain can be milder or severe and either come in spasms or be persistent it is effect. One can feel numbness and tingling sensation in the leg. There could also be muscle weakness in the leg that is affected. The situation worsens as one coughs or moves his leg with the accompaniment of low back pain. The person finds it difficult to move or control the leg and the pain could be felt on one side.

Sciatica Treatment

Many a time, Sciatica pain goes away without treatment. However, if the pain persists, doctors prescribe painkillers and Anti-inflammatory medication. The patient is recommended Physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathy. One may need to be given Epidural injections. Even after these treatments are meted out and there is no improvement of the problem, surgery may be recommended to fix the underlying cause. As Sciatica is a collection of symptoms, the treatment for it is different for different patients. It is given after knowing the main cause of the symptoms. There are a series of exams conducted by the physician to determine the root cause of the pain. The doctor will ask the patient to take many positions like squatting, bending forward and backward, sitting, raising one leg at a time, walking on toes, rotating the spine and lying on back. The patient might feel increased pain while doing these activities.

If the cause of sciatica is a result of prolapsed or lumbar disc herniation, it could be corrected with supportive treatment. The method can relieve 90 percent of disc prolapsed cases. Doctors may use MRI to diagnose and treat sciatica. 95 percent of severe sciatica patients are diagnosed using MR neurography. 15 percent of sciatica patients are diagnosed to have disc related problems.


To prevent the risk of sciatica, one should not to sit in awkward positions for long durations. One should also take regular exercise to reduce the chances of getting sciatica. There is a spurt of self-inflicted sciatica recently. The People nowadays wear lower hanging trousers which have lower positioned pockets. One can get sciatica pain if sitting on a wallet for long hours daily. The common symptoms in this case are numbness and pain behind the knee cap.

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