What you should know about Sciatica
As humans, we all strive to live healthy lives to make the most of our time. However, there are several people across the world who face terrible illnesses and fatal diseases. That is why, in moments where you think your body is feeling strange or different, you are compelled to get yourself checked by a doctor to make sure everything’s okay.
Many folks tend to overlook getting professional help right away, and so their disease spreads to a point where it cannot be fixed. That is why you should always consult a doctor or specialist as soon as possible when you feel your mind or body failing you in any way.
One of the widespread problems individuals face across the globe is Sciatica. Although well-known, proper awareness of the condition is still an issue. One of the prevalent misconceptions is that sciatica is something that can go away on its own, and only lasts for as much as a few weeks.
The truth is, while sciatica can be short-lasting for some, it can affect other people for as long as several months, which can be quite debilitating. That is why it is crucial for patients with Sciatica to consider physiotherapy instead of waiting for the problem to fix itself.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is the presence of pain in the lower extremities of the thigh, leg, and buttock. Our lower body is supplied by a large nerve known as the sciatic nerve, which is formed from a bunch of smaller nerves leaving the spinal cord. Once the small nerves unite, the sciatic nerve moves through the buttock, thigh and the leg to supply the region.
It can get pressed against any underlying structures like bones or joints along its course through the lower body, which causes the pain in Sciatica.
Though lower back pain is a prevalent condition that is seen in around 80–90% of the population during their lifespan, cases of true sciatica are only seen in about 5% of the population. It is more common in individuals aged between 30 and 50 years. Sciatica is also known as “lumbar radiculopathy”.
What are the causes of Sciatica
Sciatica takes place if the sciatic nerve is irritated or pinched. This can occur for numerous reasons. The most common causes involve:
Degenerative disc disease
Although disc degeneration is a natural occurrence with aging, in some cases one or more degenerated discs in the lower back can cause sciatica. Bone spurs within spinal degeneration can also irritate the sciatic nerve and cause in sciatica.
The resulting disc collapse, fracture, and vertebral body slippage that come with isthmic spondylolisthesis can pinch the nerve and cause sciatica.
Lumbar spinal stenosis
Narrowing of the spinal canal results in Sciatica with lumbar spinal stenosis. This is commonly seen in people older than 60.
If the piriformis muscle irritates or pinches the sciatic nerve, it can result in Sciatica-like pain.
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
Irritation of the sacroiliac joint can also pinch the L5 nerve near the joint, resulting in sciatica-like pain.
Lumbar herniated disc
A herniated lumbar disc can irritate or pinch the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is the most common symptom of a lumbar herniated disc.
Pregnancy, scar tissue, muscle strain, spinal tumor, infection, fracture, ankylosing spondylitis or any lower back injury can cause Sciatica. It can sometimes occur in some people without any underlying cause. When the cause of it occurring is not known, it is known as idiopathic Sciatica.
If the pain is caused by direct injury or irritation of the nerve, it is called true Sciatica. And if the pain is similar to Sciatica but the underlying cause is not relevant to the sciatic nerve, it is known as Sciatica-type pain.
Here are some of the obvious signs and symptoms of Sciatica that you should be wary of:
This pain is a jolting sensation like an electric shock that starts with a cough, sneeze or sitting for a long period of time on one side of the body. If you feel such a pain, instead of prolonging your visit to the doctor, call Pillars of Wellness at 905-637-4000 and to get yourself seen so that you can avoid any further problems.
Loss of Bowel and Bladder Function:
Sciatica can put pressure on the nerves around the bowel and bladder, resulting in a loss of control over bodily functions.
Inflammation and swelling:
Inflammation, swelling, and redness of the affected areas are all common symptom of sciatica.
Joint weakness in a single leg:
This is a red flag for sciatica. Pain or weakness in just one of the flags is a telltale symptom of sciatica.
Sciatica symptoms can be cleared within a week on their own, but with true sciatica, all the symptoms including pain, muscle weakness, numbness, and others become prolonged and severe.
Sciatica diagnosis includes a physical exam that tests muscle strength and reflexes. This involves stretching and moving exercises to see which movements cause more pain. For people who have sciatica symptoms for longer than a month, nerve tests are done to test the sciatic nerve’s functionality and find any abnormalities.
Imaging tests help doctors see the spine, so as to evaluate the cause of sciatica. The commonly performed imaging tests for sciatica diagnosis are X-rays, MRI, and CT scans of the spine. X-rays cannot detect sciatic nerve damage. Doctors will most likely perform a CT myelogram where they inject a special dye in the spine to get clearer images of the spinal cord and nerves. You should get an appointment for future assistance by filling out the form at pillarsofwellness.ca/appointment-form so as to get the proper examination.
Sciatica can be left alone for about a week and it should resolve on its own. To deal with the pain and symptoms, pain and anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and inflammation in the lower extremities are options. For severe pain and prolonged symptoms, patients can opt for epidural injections, chemonucleolysis (injection in the spinal discs), and surgery as a last resort in case of disc slippage.
Others can opt for treatments like chiropractic, osteopathy, physiotherapy, or acupuncture. Pillars of Wellness offers people holistic nutrition, meditation, physiotherapy, yoga, and naturopathy. Since muscle movement and strength is an important part of sciatica treatment and improvement, doctors suggest physical activity, so if you’re looking for physiotherapy Burlington in Aldershot then Pillars of Wellness is your go-to for health and fitness.
With all that’s been said, it is in everyone’s best interests to look after themselves before you have to face any terrible disease or injury in the future. Prevention is more important than treatment. It is recommended to live healthily, so contact Pillars of Wellness’ physiotherapist to prevent and treat conditions like sciatica. A good daily exercise regimen is the best way to stay healthy both in mind and body. You can contact Pillars of Wellness via email at email@example.com to get information about any health concerns you may have. We are conveniently located in Burlington, Aldershot.