Are you having shooting pains down either of your legs?
Do you feel like the back of your leg is being torn in two?
Then, you might be experiencing sciatica pain.
But, what causes sciatic nerve pain to flare up?
And, how can you prevent lower back and leg pain?
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a symptom that may include:
- leg pain
- bad leg muscle cramping
- pain shooting through the leg that makes sitting or standing difficult
- weakness, numbness or tingling in the leg
- in extreme cases, loss of mobility in the knee, ankle or hip
It is caused by a pinched sciatic nerve.
The sciatic nerve is responsible for leg mobility…
So, if this nerve is interrupted or aggravated, then it will create the previously mentioned symptoms.
There are conditions that can pinch a sciatic nerve such as:
- a herniated or slipped disc
- tight muscle tissue around the buttocks (specifically the piriformis)
- spinal stenosis – a narrowing of the spinal canal
- spondylolisthesis – vertebrae out of alignment with another
How Do I Know if I Have Sciatica?
Unfortunately, without a proper examination by a medical professional…
You can only guess.
I’d highly recommend consulting your family doctor if you experience any of those symptoms for longer than 24 hours.
Most likely, your family doctor will refer you to an orthopedic specialist…
Who will better diagnose you and prescribe the best treatment for you.
An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) might be the first option…
To get a look into your body and uncover what the true extent of the sciatic nerve damage .
What Should I Do if I Have a Flare-Up?
Under ideal circumstances, you’ll consult your physician first.
When I would have sciatic nerve pain…
- Sit or lie down for 15 minutes
- Place a cold pack or compress on my low back
- And, in some cases, place a heating pad on the tight leg muscle. I never put heat on a leg with tingles, numbness or extreme pain.
Under no circumstance would I:
- Exercise – this includes walking and running
- Place a heating pad on my low back – this merely aggravates the inflamed nerve
- Ice the affected area for longer the 15 minutes at a time
- Stretch – this seems counter-intuitive. But if a nerve is excited, then no amount of stretching is going to alleviate the pain. Calm the nerve first, then stretch.
How is a Pinched Sciatic Nerve Treated?
In most cases, the first line of treatment is physical therapy.
This is in hopes that the body will heal itself.
If therapy doesn’t work, then other measures are taken and can include:
- Spinal injections – or epidural steroid injections. I found this option worked but only briefly. Getting the injection is REALLY painful and I found diminishing returns with each treatment.
- Spinal surgery – laminotomy or laminectomy. A laminotomy or microdiscectomy is when a portion of herniation is removed to alleviate pressure from the nerve. A laminectomy is a more extreme surgery where a portion of the vertebrae is removed to alleviate pressure. The most severe form of surgery is spinal fusion. That is in worst case scenarios and requires up to a year of recovery time.
- Medicines – I wholeheartedly believe that most pharmaceutical solutions merely mask the issue and don’t help alleviate the root of the problem. BUT, a prescription is 100% necessary for faster recovery. Don’t rule this out; I caused myself a lot of pain by NOT taking pain relievers and anti-inflammatories.
What is My Best Line of Defense Against Sciatica?
Proper nutrition and exercise will greatly decrease your likelihood of sciatic pain.
Sadly, most people won’t know they have an issue until it’s too late.
Once you get treatment, stick to a regimented workout program and diet.
I’m reminded from time to time when I’m slacking on my workout routine.
My sciatica will wake up and kick me in the butt (literally).
How to Relieve Sciatica Pain Now
Hey, I hope you found this post useful.
If you want to know one viable solution…
Then, check out my recent post about an Innovative At-Home Back Pain Treatment.
You may just find that helpful!
Till later, live freely, love openly and stay pain-free!