Sciatica The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It runs from your pelvis, through your hip area and buttocks, and down each leg. The sciatic nerve branches into smaller nerves as it travels down the legs, providing feeling as well as controlling many of the muscles in your lower legs. The term sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of this nerve.
What causes Sciatica? Sciatica is actually a sign that you have an underlying problem putting pressure on a nerve in your lower back. The most common cause of this nerve compression is a bulging or herniated lumbar disc.
Piriformis syndrome is another common cause of sciatica. The piriformis is a muscle which lies directly over the sciatic nerve. If this muscle becomes tight or goes into spasm, it puts pressure directly on the sciatic nerve. Occasionally, sciatic pain in men is the result of sitting on a wallet.
How do I know if I have sciatica? Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. Sciatica may be accompanied by numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the affected leg. This pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating discomfort. Sometimes it may feel like a jolt or electric shock. Sciatic pain often starts gradually and intensifies over time. It's likely to be worse when you sit, cough or sneeze.
How is Sciatica Treated? In the vast majority cases, sciatic pain can be relieved through a combination of stretches, deep tissue massage, and chiropractic care. To help diagnose sciatica and pinpoint which nerves may be affected, your chiropractor will ask about your medical history and perform a thorough physical exam, with special attention to spine and legs. Scientific research has shown that 75- 80% percent of patients suffering with chronic sciatica benefit from chiropractic treatment
Risk factors for Sciatica:
Age: Age-related changes in the spine are a common cause of sciatica.
Previous Injury: Sports- or work-related trauma may lead to sciatica later on.
Occupation: Jobs that require twisting the back, carrying heavy loads, or driving a for extended periods may makes you more prone to develop sciatica.
Prolonged Sitting: People who sit for long periods or have a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to develop sciatica than people with an active occupation and/or lifestyle
Diabetes: This condition affects the way your body uses blood sugar, and increases your risk of nerve damage.
When Should I Seek Urgent Professional Advice about Sciatica?
If you experience sudden, severe pain in your low back or ether or both legs and numbness or muscle weakness in ether or both of the legs
If the pain follows a injury, such as from a traffic- or work-related accident
If you suddenly have trouble controlling your bowels or bladder, seek professional help immediately.