Sciatica: Causes, treatment, exercises, and symptoms

We include products we think are utilitarian for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. here ’ s our process. Sciatica is the name given to pain caused by irritation of the sciatic heart. Anything that irritates this heart can cause pain, ranging from balmy to severe. Sciatica is normally caused by a compressed heart in the lower spine.

often, the condition “ sciatica ” is confused with general rear trouble. however, sciatica is not barely limited to the back. The sciatic heart is the longest and widest nerve in the homo body. It runs from the lower bet on, through the buttocks, and down the leg, ending merely below the stifle. This nerve controls several muscles in the lower legs and supplies sensation to the hide of the animal foot and the majority of the lower leg. Sciatica is not a circumstance, but quite a symptom of another problem involving the sciatic steel. Some experts estimate that up to 40 percentage of people will experience sciatica at least once in their life .

Symptoms of sciatica

man holding his back share on PinterestSciatica can cause pain in the back and legs. The chief symptom is a shooting pain anywhere along the sciatic steel ; from the lower back, through the buttock, and down the back of either leg. other common symptoms of sciatica include :

  • numbness in the leg along the nerve
  • tingling sensation (pins and needles) in the feet and toes

This pain can range in badness and may be aggravated by sitting for long periods.

What are the treatments for sciatica?

We will look at treatments for acute and chronic sciatica individually :

Acute sciatica treatments

Most cases of acute sciatica respond well to self-care measures, which include :

  • Over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen, which are also available to buy online.
  • Exercises such as walking or light stretching.
  • Hot or cold compression packs help to reduce pain. They are available to purchase online. It is often helpful to alternate between the two.

not all painkillers are desirable for everyone ; individuals should be certain to review options with their doctor .

Chronic sciatica treatments

treatment of chronic sciatica normally involves a combination of self-care measures and medical treatment :

  • physical therapy
  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – helps manage chronic pain by training people to react differently to their pain
  • painkillers

surgery may be an option if symptoms have not responded to other treatments and continue to intensify. surgical options include :

  • Lumbar laminectomy – widening of the spinal cord in the lower back to reduce pressure on the nerves.
  • Discectomy – partial or entire removal of a herniated disk.

Depending on the campaign of sciatica, a surgeon will go over the risks and benefits of surgery and be able to suggest a desirable surgical option .

Exercises and stretches

There are many ways to relieve the pressure on the sciatic heart through exercise. This allows patients to :

  • alleviate their symptoms on their own
  • reduce or avoid taking medications where possible
  • find longer term comfort and relief for their condition during flare-ups

In this video, a specialist from Madden Physical Therapy looks at three exercises for the sciatic nerve :

Causes of sciatica

Sciatica is a common symptom of several different checkup conditions ; however, an estimated 90 percentage of cases are due to a herniated ( slipped ) harrow. The spinal column is made up of three parts :

  • vertebra (individual bones in the spine that protect underlying nerves)
  • nerves
  • disks

Disks are made of cartilage, which is a strong and resilient material ; the cartilage acts as a cushion between each vertebra and allows the spine to be flexible. A herniated phonograph record occurs when a disk is pushed out of place, putting press on the sciatic boldness. other causes of sciatica include :

  • Lumbar spinal stenosis – narrowing of the spinal cord in the lower back.
  • Spondylolisthesis – a condition where a disk slips forward over the vertebra below it.
  • Tumors within the spine – these may compress the root of the sciatic nerve.
  • Infection – ultimately affecting the spine.
  • Other causes – for instance, injury within the spine.
  • Cauda equina syndrome – a rare but serious condition that affects the nerves in the lower part of the spinal cord; it requires immediate medical attention.

In many cases of sciatica, there is no single obvious lawsuit .

Risk factors for sciatic nerve pain

common gamble factors include :

  • Age – people in their 30s and 40s have a higher risk of developing sciatica.
  • Profession – jobs that require lifting heavy loads for long periods.
  • Sedentary lifestyle – people who sit for long periods and are physically inactive are more likely to develop sciatica, compared with active people.


Although sciatica-like annoyance can be a problem during pregnancy ; an estimated 50–80 percentage of women have back pain during pregnancy. Hormones produced during pregnancy, such as restful, cause ligaments to loosen up and stretch, which can potentially cause back trouble in some women. however, sciatica due to a herniated harrow is no more likely during pregnancy.


In most cases, sciatica will go away on its own ; in the huge majority of cases, operation is not needed. Around half of people will recover within 6 weeks .

Prevention of sciatica

In some cases, sciatica can be prevented ; there are respective life style changes that can reduce the chances of developing it, including even drill and making certain proper carriage is used when standing, sitting good, and lifting objects.

How is sciatica diagnosed?

If the symptoms of sciatica are balmy and do not last longer than 4-8 weeks, it is credibly acute sciatica, and medical attention is not normally necessary. A dispatch aesculapian history may help speed up the diagnosis. Doctors will besides have the individual perform basic exercises that stretch the sciatic steel. A dart annoyance down the branch while performing these exercises normally indicates sciatica.

If pain persists for more than 4-8 weeks, imaging tests such as an x-ray or MRI may be necessity to help identify what is compressing the sciatic heart and causing the symptoms. Read the article in spanish .

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