Sciatica is often a severely painful condition affecting your sciatic nerve, which can be found in your lower back area and continues all the way down to your legs. In most cases, this condition would also only affect one side of the patient’s body. There are a variety of treatments, remedies, and alternative medications available for sciatica but none which may be considered as completely effective. If the usual treatments do not work, then it’s possible for the doctor to require you to undergo surgery.
Symptoms of Sciatica
There is no specific and distinct symptom that can be associated sciatica, thus making it difficult to diagnose on your own. In most cases, however, you are likely to feel any or a combination of the following when suffering from this condition:
- Discomfort in any part where your sciatic nerve passes in your body
- Pain level for sciatica varies from milder aches to an excruciating and burning pain
- Almost always only one side of the patient’s body will be affected by sciatica
- Possible weakness in foot or leg muscles
- Numbness in some parts then pain in other areas
- Uncomfortable tingling sensation
- Condition is aggravated because of extended period of sitting
Is It Time to Visit Your Doctor?
If you are suffering from a good number of the symptoms above then consider that as a likely indication you are suffering from sciatica. However, there is nothing wrong about making sure by visiting your doctor for a physical checkup – and especially if your condition has been causing you much pain.
In most cases than not, milder forms of sciatica heal on their own given sufficient time. If you are conscious about the medical expenses you’d occur, then you may want to wait this out a bit and see if your condition won’t improve in time.
On the other hand, it is considered imperative to seek professional help immediately if you experience any kind of unexpected and severe pain in your leg or lower back. If your condition has resulted from a severe injury – caused by a near-fatal accident or something similar – then that would warrant immediate medical attention as well.
In some situations, sciatica is known to affect a person’s inability to control his or her bowel movements. For most experts, this is considered as reason enough to seek medical attention as well.
What Are The Possible Causes of Sciatica?
Sciatica may be difficult to diagnose on your own but its cause is easy to determine. It is primarily caused by pinched sciatic nerves, which are often the result of either bone spur or bone overgrowth in a person’s vertebrae or it may simply be a complication caused by herniated disks. In rare cases, sciatica may be a side effect of diabetes or caused by tumor compression.
Is Sciatica a Treatable Disease?
Medical experts agree that there is a very good chance for self-care measures and home remedies to succeed in treating sciatica. However, if you prefer to rely on conventional or chemically formulated medications then here are a number of options for you to consider.
- Anti-inflammatory medications can help alleviate the pain caused by sciatica.
- Muscle relaxants can be used to deal with the tingling sensation, pain, and numbness affecting muscles in your leg and foot
- Narcotics may also serve as a pain reliever and help you enjoy a better night’s sleep even if you are suffering from sciatica
In worst case scenarios, it’s possible for doctors to also prescribe anti-seizure medications and tricyclic antidepressants if the patient has been severely affected by the pain and discomfort caused by sciatica.
Sometimes, medications are not enough to treat sciatica. In such cases, the doctor may advise you to give physical therapy a try – especially if your lower muscle strength has been considerably affected. A rehabilitation program is typically custom-designed to help the patient regain muscle strength as well as prevent injuries from recurring. Physical therapy also involves exercises and workouts meant to rebuild muscle strength, improve flexibility and posture and overall lower the risk of suffering from sciatica again.
This may come as a surprise to many, but there are good things that do come from steroid injections as well. Generally speaking, this is considered an ideal treatment if the patient requires a more direct way of eliminating the pain caused by sciatica. In this case, corticosteroids are injected to your system so that inflammation caused by affected nerves would subside.
Just be aware that you cannot rely on this type of medication continuously or regularly. The number of injections you can get is limited since there are too many dangerous side effects associated with prolonged treatment with steroid injections.
As discussed earlier, surgery is considered one of the last resorts for treating sciatica. It is only recommended by doctors if the sciatic nerve is compressed to the point that bowel movements are affected and bladder incontinence as well as muscle weakness has resulted. The surgical operation is meant to remove bone overgrowth to relieve compression.
Before you think about the treatments discussed above, you are highly encouraged to start with the remedies listed here. Not only are they more affordable and easier to apply, they are also less prone to cause side effects.
- Rest. Take an extra day off work if necessary. Sometimes, sciatica is aggravated by stress caused by your work and other commitments.
- Apply a cold pack to the affected area. Make sure to leave the cold pack for a maximum of twenty minutes. You can do a number of times a day. As an alternative, a bag of frozen peas that’s been wrapped inside a clean towel would do as well.
- Apply a hot pack to the affected area. Heating pads, heat laps, and hot packs may also help alleviate the pain. You can use this alternately with cold packs.
Last but not the least, prevention is still the best cure and virtually all medical conditions and diseases can have its risks lowered with good health. To complement your healthy lifestyle, you should also consider taking health supplements based on natural ingredients like green coffee bean extract.