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When the nerve roots which lead to the sciatic nerve become irritated, a person may experience certain sensations. Tingling, numbness and pain are three of the most often seen sensations. This situation is otherwise known as sciatica. The nerve roots which come out of the spinal cord and go into the lower part of the back are medically called the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve does not end in the lower back but it spreads all the way to through the back of the leg even to the ankle and foot.

Sciatica nerve problem

The doctors are aware what the actual cause of sciatica is and in a majority of situations it is a bulging or a herniated disc. When the disc gets into this situation in the spine, it will press against the nerve roots and that is how the problem of sciatica usually occurs. Even though sciatica is a condition of its own, it is not that rarely seen for it to be a symptom of some other condition. Some of the conditions which have sciatica as its symptom are other conditions of the spine like narrowing of the spine canal, bone spurs which occurred due to arthritis and nerve root compressions, among other things. Apart from these, sciatica can also be a symptom of some condition where the spine plays a part, like tumors or even pregnancy. However, these situations are an extreme rarity.

The symptoms of this condition are not that difficult to notice but it is best that a person goes to the hospital in order for them to be properly diagnosed. When sciatica occurs a person will suffer from pain, numbness and tingling sensations which can be felt in the lower back but also in the upper buttocks and all the way down the back leg. All of these factors lead to pain in the leg. However, leg is not the only place where pain will be felt and a person may feel pain in the hip area as well. There are also situations where lower back pain is not present at all but these situations are not seen that often. When the problem of sciatica is a severe one, even walking may become a problem. Some patients may seem to find walking impossible due to the severity of the condition. Certain actions like sitting or standing for a prolonged period of time can make the troubles of sciatica a lot worse. Any movement that leads to the flexion of the spine can aggravate the symptoms. However, there are certain actions which may provide relief like walking and lying down.

Can physical therapy help

Before starting with any sort of a treatment for sciatica, the doctor needs to diagnose it properly first. Whenever a patient comes to the hospital complaining about the symptoms of sciatica, the doctor will check his or her medical history and perform a physical exam in order to diagnose sciatica. The doctor will also discuss the symptoms with the patient and may order an x-ray and an MRI in order to be sure about the actual cause of this condition.

Once it has been properly diagnosed, the treatment options will be discussed. The outcome of sciatica has a good record and there are not that many patients who do not make a full recovery. Patients should know that there are ways they can relieve the pain on their own. Sitting should be avoided in every situation unless it provides more comfort than standing. Walking is vital for the relieving of the symptoms and the patient should make the walking distance longer every time. However, it is essential not to experience pain when doing so. Certain medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen are often prescribed by the doctors as they fight the pain. The use of heat pads and ice packs is very popular among patients who suffer from sciatica. Even taking a warm shower helps. Ice packs or heated pads should be used for a period of approximately 15 minutes every three hours.

The actual cause of the condition may require certain additional treatment. If the symptoms do not go away using any of the first options, the doctor may recommend physical therapy, steroid injections, the use of stronger medicines like muscle relaxants propioids and in the most severe cases surgery.

Exercises are also the part of the sciatica treatment. They have the reduction of pain as fast as possible and prevention of recurrences of the pain in the future as their main goals. These exercises are prescribed by a physical therapist, chiropractor, physicist or a spine specialist.

Core muscle strength is essential as a part of exercises for sciatica as these exercises have strengthening of abdominal and back muscles as their main purpose. Hamstring stretching and various aerobic exercises are very often prescribed as well. It is essential that the patient exercises correctly however.

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