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Addressing Sciatica: What You Need to Know

Addressing Sciatica: What You Need to Know

Understanding Sciatic Nerve Pain and Finding Relief

If you are one of the many people who suffer from sciatic nerve pain, you likely have many questions.

What is causing my pain? What can I do to make it go away? How will I know if my treatment is working?

This guide from our team of spine surgeons at Inspired Spine can help you address sciatica, get answers, and find relief.

What is Sciatica?

You have probably heard of sciatica, but might not know what it feels like. The term describes a pain that originates in your lower back and shoots down one or both of your legs.

The general cause of sciatica is irritation or compression of the spinal nerve roots at the level where they exit from between each vertebra in your spine. However, most people simply know of it as a painful condition that makes daily life difficult.

Common Sciatica Triggers

One of the telltale signs of sciatica is pain shooting down one or both of your legs. Triggers can include anything from bending down wrong while taking a load of laundry out of the dryer to sleeping in a wrong position or even strenuous physical exercise.

From a medical standpoint, a sciatica can be the result of a number of things, including:

  • Herniated Disc: When one of the discs between your vertebrae ruptures or leaks fluid, it can put pressure on the nerve roots and cause pain.
  • Spinal Stenosis: This condition is caused by the narrowing of the spinal canal, which can also put pressure on the nerve roots.
  • Piriformis Syndrome: This is a condition caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, often due to spasms in the piriformis muscle.
  • Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction: This occurs when there is pain or dysfunction in the sacroiliac joint, which is where the sacrum and hip bones meet.

How Common is Sciatica?

Sciatica is not a common condition, but estimates suggest that up to 40% of people will experience some form of sciatica in their lifetime. It is more common in people over the age of fifty and those who are overweight.

Symptoms of Sciatic Nerve Pain

The symptoms of sciatica can vary from person to person, but typically include:

  • A dull or aching pain in the lower back.
  • Pain that radiates down one or both legs.
  • Tingling, numbness, or burning sensations in the leg or foot.
  • Weakness or difficulty moving the leg or foot.

Tips for Finding Sciatica Relief

When the pain occurs, it is essential to find relief as soon as possible. The first thing that a person should do is identify what type of sciatic nerve pain they are experiencing. A variety of things can cause sciatica, so the treatment will vary depending on the underlying issue.

At-Home Remedies

You can do many things at home to find relief from your sciatic nerve pain. For example, if a herniated disc causes your discomfort, you might try doing exercises that strengthen the muscles in your back. If the cause is piriformis syndrome, you might try stretching to relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Some other at-home remedies that might help you find relief from your sciatic nerve pain include:

  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Applying heat or ice to the affected area.
  • Wearing comfortable, supportive shoes.
  • Getting regular massages.
  • Practicing yoga or other stretching exercises.

When to See a Doctor

If your pain does not improve after trying these at-home remedies, you should speak to your doctor about other treatment options. They will be able to determine the cause of your pain and recommend the best course of action.

In some cases, the cause of your sciatica pain is a more severe condition, such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. Thus, it is crucial to get these health issues diagnosed and treated immediately.

Treatment for Sciatica and Back Pain in Minnesota

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your back, it is ideal to see a doctor as soon as possible. A variety of things can cause sciatica, and relief will vary depending on what condition is causing the problem.

At Inspired Spine, we offer various non-invasive options for back pain and sciatica. We will work with you to put together the best treatment plan for your individual needs and help you find relief from your pain.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our spine surgeons, call (952) 225-5266 today.