Sciatica can be defined as a group of symptoms caused by irritation or compression of one of five spinal roots that give rise to each sciatic nerve. Additionally the irritation or compression of either of two or even both sciatic nerves is classified under the term sciatica. The condition typically features with pain in the lower back, between the buttocks and in some cases along the leg all the way down the foot. Apart from the pain sciatica also features with numbness and muscular weakness, pins and needles or even tingling sensations in the affected area. In severe cases one may not be able to move or control his/ her leg.
Causes of Sciatic Nerve Pain
One of the leading causes of sciatic nerve pain is the process of aging. Namely, as a person gets older the nerves are more prone to injury and skeletal system also develops specific structural changes which may be contributors to nerve irritation. Furthermore, it is more likely that vertebral disc will slip in elderly people than in young patients. Apart from the previously mentioned sciatica may be a result of trauma to the sciatic nerve due to falls, injury to the sacral spinal roots and in some cases the symptoms and signs of sciatic nerve irritation or compression are caused by the presence and growth of spinal tumors. Basically any condition which causes irritation or compression of the sciatic nerves or their roots is considered a cause of sciatica.
Symptoms of Sciatic Nerve Pain
Patients suffering from sciatic nerve pain commonly complain about mild to severe pain in the lower back. The pain basically starts from the buttocks and may be localized or spread down the leg. The pain in sciatica tends to aggravate if a person tries to bend down. Numbness may affect only the buttock or even lower parts of the leg which is a more serious symptom. The leg muscles may be weak and in some cases patients simply cannot walk. And finally, one may experience tingling or prickling sensations in the buttock region or thighs.
Treatment for Sciatic Nerve Pain
The first thing one should do is to apply cold compresses or ice on the painful area. This is supposed to be done within the first 48 hours. This way inflammation will reduce and the pain will be less intensive.
Stretching is an essential part of sciatica treatment. There are several stretching techniques which are highly effective in reduction of sciatica pain. Exercises such as hamstring stretch exercise, knee to chest stretch exercise, performs stretch exercise are only a few examples. And finally, patients are supposed to keep on moving. Sitting for a long period of time will only tighten the muscles and intensify the pain.