What is sciatica?

“Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body” (Mayo Clinic, 2019).

What causes sciatica?

“Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, usually by a herniated disk in your spine or by an overgrowth of bone (bone spur) on your vertebrae. More rarely, the nerve can be compressed by a tumor or damaged by a disease such as diabetes” (Mayo Clinic, 2019) There are a few risk factors that make some individuals more likely to experience sciatic nerve pain. These risk factors include: “age, obesity, occupation (such as a job that requires you to twist your back, carry heavy loads or drive a motor vehicle for long periods), prolonged sitting, and diabetes” (Mayo Clinic, 2019).


sciatica nerve pain


What are the symptoms of sciatica?

The main symptom is lower back pain that radiates down the patient’s buttocks and one leg. “You might feel the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it’s especially likely to follow a path from your low back to your buttock and the back of your thigh and calf. The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating pain. Sometimes it can feel like a jolt or electric shock. It can be worse when you cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms. Usually only one side of your body is affected. Some people also have numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. You might have pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another part” (Mayo Clinic, 2019).

How does one treat sciatica?

A series of adjustments given by a licensed chiropractor can greatly improve and alleviate the symptoms of sciatica. Medications may be prescribed by a licensed MD for pain  “The types of drugs that might be prescribed for sciatica pain include: anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, narcotics, tricyclic antidepressants, anti-seizure medications” (Mayo Clinic, 2019). A rehabilitation specialist or a physical therapist may create a treatment plan for the patient, which may include passive and active care. Passive care would include modalities such as muscle stimulation, ultrasound therapy, manual/massage therapy, and more. Active care would include many different stretches and exercises for the patient to perform either on their own or with the help of the healthcare assistant. “In some cases, your doctor might recommend injection of a corticosteroid medication into the area around the involved nerve root. Corticosteroids help reduce pain by suppressing inflammation around the irritated nerve. The effects usually wear off in a few months. The number of steroid injections you can receive is limited because the risk of serious side effects increases when the injections occur too frequently. Surgery is usually reserved for when the compressed nerve causes significant weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, or when you have pain that progressively worsens or doesn’t improve with other therapies. Surgeons can remove the bone spur or the portion of the herniated disk that’s pressing on the pinched nerve” (Mayo Clinic, 2019).



Work Cited

Rehab, A. (2019, January 19). 6 Ways to Relieve Sciatic Pain at Home – Provo Chiropractor: Dynamic auto accident recovery program. Retrieved July 23, 2020, from https://alpinespinalrehab.com/2019/01/19/6-ways-to-relieve-sciatic-pain-at-home/

Sciatica. (2019, September 26). Retrieved July 23, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/symptoms-causes/syc-20377435

Written by Jean-Jacques Abitbol, M. (2020, March 30). Causes of Sciatica and Sciatic Nerve Pain. Retrieved July 23, 2020, from https://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/sciatica/6-leading-causes-sciatica


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