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HomeHealth10 alarming signs you have sciatica (nerve pain in leg)

10 alarming signs you have sciatica (nerve pain in leg)

It is caused by irritation, inflammation, or compression of a nerve in the lower back. The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated or slipped disk that causes pressure on the nerve root.  Shooting pain from the lower back down to the feet, neuropathy, and weakness are all signs that you might have sciatica. 

Most people with sciatica get better on their own with time and self-care treatments.

What is sciatica?

The termsciatica is known as any pain that originates in the lower back and radiates down the leg. Sciatica refers to a type of nerve pain along the sciatic nerve. However, this nerve is the longest in the body, originating from your buttock area. The sciatic nerve is the longest and thickest nerve in the body.

How do we define the term Dorsalgia?

It is severe pain in the back. It takes root from two words: 

  • “Dorsal” means back, 
  •  “algia” means pain.

 Dorsalgia is more than just simple back pain. However, the pain involved in dorsalgia comes from the spine. The seriousness of the dorsalgia is dependent on the area of the spine it is affecting and the probable cause of the pain.

What does sciatica pain feel like?

Some people describe the pain as sharp, shooting, or jolts of pain. Others describe this pain as “burning,” “electric” or “stabbing.” The pain may be constant or may come and go. A forced and sudden body movement, like a cough or sneeze, can also make the pain worse.

What Are Sciatica Risk Factors?

  • Age-related changes in the spine, such as arthritis and degenerating discs, are risk factors for sciatica.
  • Obesity: Excess weight, especially in the abdomen, increases the stress on the spine.
  • Prolonged sitting and a sedentary lifestyle are risk factors for sciatica and other back problems.

What Is the Prognosis of Sciatica?

While sciatica can be very painful, most of the time, the pain associated with sciatica goes away in days to weeks. Chronic pain may affect a small number of people, leading to some disabilities. Sciatica tends to reoccur frequently, sometimes without warning.

Most common signs of Sciatica

1)Shooting back and leg pain

The sciatic nerve may fire off bursts of pain that radiate through the lower back and down the legs sometimes even reaching the feet. This pain is sudden and extremely sharp.

2)Burning sensation in your hips and legs

Another symptom of a nerve problem, a burning sensation that can radiate and persist for hours or days. It can be deep in the tissue but also on the surface, feeling like your skin is right next to a heat source. 

3)Reduced mobility or weakness

Many people who are experiencing back pain of any kind deal with reduced mobility but sciatica can have you bent over in pain. Additionally, sciatica can make your leg muscles weak, making it harder to move around.

4) Numbness and pain in the feet

Some foot discomfort is common with sciatica, though in some cases, the only manifestation is a sudden numbness or sharp pain in the feet.

5 )Pain increases when stretching the affected leg or sitting

Anything that puts extra pressure on the sciatic nerve will make the pain, tingling, and numbness worse.

When to seek medical attention for sciatica

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Your pain comes after a severe injury or accident.
  • You have sudden, excruciating pain in your lower back or leg 

How can we cure sciatica?

It’s not always possible to prevent sciatica, and the condition may recur. But some changes can help to prevent 

Home care and alternative treatments for sciatica

Applying cold or hot packs to the painful area may help with pain relief, as might stretching exercises for the lower back. Some people may find relief of symptoms through osteopathy, chiropractic, massage, or acupuncture.

Maintain proper posture when you sit. 

Choose a seat with good lower back support, armrests, and a swivel base. Consider placing a pillow or rolled towel in the small of your back to maintain its normal curve. Keep your knees and hips level.

Physiotherapy and physical therapy

Manipulation and specific exercises may be helpful in the treatment of the condition.  Once the pain has improved, a physical therapist may design a rehabilitation program to prevent future injury.

Prescription medications: 

Your healthcare provider may prescribe muscle relaxants, such as cyclobenzaprine, to relieve the discomfort associated with muscle spasms. Other medications with pain-relieving action that may be tried include tricyclic antidepressants and anti-seizure medications. Depending on your level of pain, prescription pain medicines might be used early in your treatment plan.

When is surgery considered?

Spinal surgery is usually not recommended unless you have not improved with other treatment methods such as stretching and medication, your pain is worsening, you have severe weakness in the muscles in your lower extremities. Surgery aims to relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve. This may involve the removal of abnormal disc material or bone spurs. All other forms of treatment should be exhausted before surgery is considered.

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