Sciatica is a term used to describe pain generated by sciatic nerve inflammation. This nerve, located in your lower back, is created by a collection of nerves originating from the spine’s lower lumbar area. The sciatic nerve is the primary neurological channel that connects your brain to your legs and feet. When the sciatic nerve is pinched or inflamed, discomfort can “radiate” down the nerve, causing pain or tingling in your legs. Because the pain is felt in different places, it may be difficult to establish which doctor should treat your Sciatica. Examining the reasons for sciatica pain might assist us in determining the best expert to treat it.
What is Sciatica?
The sciatic nerve is your body’s longest nerve. It aids in the movement of parts of your leg. This nerve also delivers sensory information to the spine. However, if that nerve becomes compressed or pinched, it can cause pins and needles, numbness, and discomfort in the lower back. It affects the low back and buttocks and frequently runs down the leg. Although sciatica pain is more commonly experienced on one side of the body, some people feel it on both. If you experience significant lower back discomfort or notice that you have bad posture, your balance is wrong, or there is pain flowing down one or both legs, you may have a sciatic nerve issue.
What are the common causes of Sciatica?
Sciatic nerve discomfort is typically caused by anything pressing on the nerve. This is frequently caused by a slipped disc in the low back. Begin by doing a balancing test on yourself. This aids in determining if you have excellent posture, Sciatica in both or just one leg, or another condition that requires treatment.
- Age – Herniated discs and bone spurs are the most typical sciatica causes as we age. As a result, the risk of sciatica increases.
- Obesity – Excess weight puts strain on the spine, causing herniated discs and Sciatica.
- Oversitting – Sitting for lengthy periods increases the risk of pinching the sciatic nerve and developing Sciatica. Incorrect posture or carrying a wallet in your back pocket increases the risk.
- Pregnancy – The sciatic nerve might be indirectly compressed throughout the second and third trimesters due to weight shifts, ligament relaxation, and the baby developing inside you.
- Injury or trauma – Serious injuries that cause slipping or burst discs can cause Sciatica.
- Smoking – This is a lesser-known risk factor. Smoking may lead to Sciatica, although stopping may lessen the risk.
If you don’t experience much back discomfort but have tingling feelings down your leg, it might be due to a tight piriformis muscle. This is a tiny but delicate muscle. It’s also deep and near enough that when its spasms, it might press against your sciatic nerve.
How does sciatica pain feel?
Depending on the cause, people describe sciatica pain in various ways. Sharp, shooting, or jolting pain is how some individuals describe their agony. This pain has been described as “burning,” “electric,” or “stabbing” by others.The discomfort may be persistent or infrequent. Furthermore, the pain in your leg is frequently worse than the pain in your lower back. The discomfort may get greater if you sit or stand for lengthy periods, stand up, or rotate your upper body. A forceful and quick body movement, such as a cough or sneeze, can further aggravate the discomfort.
What are the symptoms of Sciatica?
Sciatica symptoms can range from a basic, uncomfortable, moderate aching to stronger feelings comparable to being burned. The discomfort can be intense and intolerable in certain circumstances. Sciatica has several common symptoms, which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- A burning and/or tingling sensation running down the leg
- A sensation of weakness or numbness in the foot or leg
- Inability to move one’s leg or foot easily
- Consistent pain down the side of the back
- Any discomfort that makes standing difficult
- Pain in the hip area
- Any leg and/or back discomfort that worsens while seated
Sciatica usually affects one side of the lower body; however, it can infrequently affect both (such as both hips, both legs, etc.). In most cases, the discomfort starts in the lower back and continues up the thigh and leg. The foot and toes might be affected depending on where the sciatic nerve is injured.
Whom to consult for the Sciatica problem?
The patient has Sciatica due to muscular knots or spinal misalignments caused by excessive sitting or stimulation. A family doctor or primary care physician will frequently diagnose Sciatica and recommend you to the appropriate specialist, though who they refer you to may differ.
- Chiropractors – These health specialists are frequently the first line of defense in these situations because they can analyze the spine and provide adjustments to improve its condition. Many patients might benefit from chiropractic care by reducing pain with frequent adjustments and physical therapy. Chiropractic will help relieve or eliminate pressure on the sciatic nerve, making it an effective treatment method.
- Neurologist – Because a nerve causes the pain, many patients seek treatment from a neurologist to alleviate their Sciatica. A neurologist will most likely use x-rays or MRIs to pinpoint the source of the problem and design a treatment strategy. Because of their expertise in the neurological system, neurologists are more likely to manage patients with severe or persistent Sciatica.
A Neurology specialist can treat the nerves; A more serious problem can also cause Sciatica in the spine, such as a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease.
- Orthopedic surgeon – An orthopedic doctor will evaluate the spine in these circumstances. In critical situations, these specialists frequently evaluate if surgery is required and, if so, what type of surgery is required. Orthopedic experts will initially look for non-invasive solutions before developing a treatment plan based on the severity of your issue.
Women who are pregnant and suffering from Sciatica should consult their doctor first. You can next consult with your OB/GYN to see whether you need to see a spine specialist for your discomfort.
What are the effective treatment options for Sciatica?
The best method to relieve your sciatica pain is to treat the underlying issue that is pinching the nerve. Here are a few common pain-relieving treatment choices.
- Cold and hot therapy – Heat relaxes your muscles while ice reduces inflammation. Apply an ice pack to your lower back for 20 minutes, then repeat every couple of hours. You can alternate between heat and cold treatments or use only one of them, depending on which provides the greatest pain relief.
- Over-the-counter medications – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (AdvilTM and MotrinTM), naproxen (AleveTM), and acetaminophen (Tylenol TM) may relieve pain long enough for you to heal since inflammation causes discomfort.
- Stretching and Physical Therapy – Depending on the origin of your Sciatica, moving may be the best solution. You can consult a physiotherapist for advice on the best stretches and exercises to relieve strain on your sciatic nerve. While physical therapy can help reduce inflammation, you should consult a skilled doctor before starting an exercise regimen since some activities might worsen your illness.
- X-ray-Guided Epidural Steroid Injections – Corticosteroids are medications used to treat inflammation and discomfort. The doctor injects the steroid straight into your spine near the sciatic nerve if you require this amount of relief. Although not recommended for long-term usage, steroid injections are excellent for providing short-term pain relief as you continue to rehabilitate via physical therapy.
- Non-surgical and minimally invasive procedures – Sciatica rarely necessitates surgery, but if it has begun to impact your bladder or intestines, or if you are feeling significant pain or weakness, surgery may be necessary. Furthermore, herniated discs are among the disorders that may not respond to conservative therapy.
Conclusion – The sciatica nerve pain you are experiencing influences your choice of doctor. Specialists in back and leg pain come from several fields, including orthopedics, neurology, traditional, alternative, and complementary medicine. Your primary contact for everything should be your primary care physician. He or she will most likely recommend rest, pain relievers, or an oral steroid dose pack, as well as muscle relaxants, anticonvulsants, or opiates. You can also consult an expert Sciatica expert at Sahyadri Hospital Hadapsar, for the best possible treatment.
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