Sciatica is basically an inflammation or irritation of the sciatic nerve, a nerve composed of five bundled nerves that start from your lower back, in your buttocks, and down your leg. Irritation or compression of one or more of these nerves could lead to sciatica. The most common symptom of sciatica is pain that’s typically described as sharp, achy, dull, throbbing, tingling, numbness, and in some cases, resembles an electric shock. This pain could be local or felt as far as the feet, and in more serious cases could even lead to lower limb paralysis and sensory loss.
Common Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica isn’t actually a diagnosis in itself, but a symptom of an underlying condition such as spine degeneration, bone spurs, pelvis or spinal misalignment, disc herniation, or a simple muscle injury, says one of the top chiropractors in Denver. To determine the exact cause of sciatica, doctors and chiropractors perform specialized exams, x-rays, and thermography, and for more severe cases, MRI and CT scan reports.
What You Can Do
Depending on the level of pain you’re experiencing and whether it’s affecting your daily activities, you could perform the following home care treatments:
- Move as much as possible and don’t stay in one position for hours, most especially if it’s causing you pain. Figure out which position is most comfortable so that you could move as freely as you could, given your circumstances.
- Ice the affected area every 15 minutes until you feel some relief. Depending on your specific case, heat might also help ease your pain.
- Do the prone extension stretch at least five to 10 times throughout the day.
- Stick to anti-inflammatory foods and limit your alcohol and sugar intake, since these could further aggravate your inflamed sciatic nerve.
In the event that these home treatments don’t work for you, consult a chiropractor. Studies have shown that specific pelvis and spinal exercises and adjustments are very effective in treating sciatica pain. It is, however, crucial to note that some sciatica symptoms, although rare, need medical attention as soon as possible. These include bladder or bowel dysfunction, progressive neurological symptoms like leg weakness, among others.