Define Sciatica Please

Sciatic NerveOkay, I will.  One way to define sciatica is to say it’s a big old pain in the butt.  That much, however,  you probably already knew.  I know all too well that bouts with sciatica can range from mild (simply annoying) to extremely severe. By the way, if you would also like to know how to pronounce sciatica, it’s sī-ˈa-ti-kə.

The medical definition of sciatica is:  a pain along the sciatic nerve caused by pressure in the lower back that can radiate through the buttocks, hip,  back of the thigh and/or calf, and even the foot.  Wouldn’t you like to know more, though?

Image credit: rob3000 / 123RF Stock Photo 

 Helpful Sciatica Information
  • The most common causes of sciatica are herniated discs, bone spurs, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis and degenerative disc disease.  Uncommon causes include tumors and nerve damage due to diabetes.
  • Common symptoms of sciatica include pain on either side of the body along the sciatic nerve that may be achy, moderate, sharp, shooting or excruciating.  Often muscle weakness, numbness and tingling are also experienced.  While multiple symptoms may be present, usually only one side of the body is affected at a time.
  • Sciatica can be aggravated by being overweight, sitting too much (in a chair or in the car), wearing high heels, frequently twisting the lower back or not sleeping on a firm enough mattress among other things.
  • Ice packs and resting for just a couple of days may be helpful for sciatica.  Thereafter, common at home sciatica treatments involve heat therapy, stretching exercises and over the counter pain killers (ibuprofen, NSAIDS, etc).
  • To prevent sciatica, you may want to consider engaging in a regular core and stretching exercise routine, using proper lifting techniques and improving your posture (especially when sitting).
  • Professional treatment for sciatica can include chiropractic care, physical therapy, injections, acupuncture, prescription medications and even surgery in rare instances.  Of course, you would want to have a conversation with your physician about these options.
  • My research indicates that you should see a doctor if the onset of sciatic symptoms immediately follow an injury or accident, you have difficulty controlling your bladder or bowels, or if you are experiencing severe and sudden pain with numbness and muscle weakness in the leg.

Related Book Review:  Sciatica Exercises and Home Treatment

So that’s sciatica in a nutshell.  Questions? – Just drop in a comment!

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