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What is sciatica? Learn the risk factors, warning signs, treatment and preventative measures to alleviate nerve pain. health news


Sciatica is often disabling, but not life-threatening, it can be easily treated with simple techniques in most cases, however, one needs to be aware of true sciatica features, other available treatment options and red flags to prevent complications and maintain optimal quality of life. . of life. In the end, prevention is always better than cure. A slipped disc is a common but not the only cause of sciatica. It can also be caused by root compression due to degeneration, fracture, misalignment, growth, or pinching when passing through certain holes, canals, and spaces.

According to Dr Gaurav Gomez, Consultant Interventional Pain Medicine and Neuro Rehabilitation, KMC Hospital, Mangalore, “The sciatic nerve is the largest peripheral nerve. It is the main wiring of the lower limbs that transmits signals for muscle movement and sensation. Its structure resembles an upside-down tree. – Roots that arise at various levels in the spine, trunk in the thigh, and branches in the thigh and leg. “Sciatica” is a fancy, blanket term used to describe any pain in the distribution of the sciatic nerve. Irritation is “electric,” “pricking” anywhere along its course. , can cause discomfort such as “pulling” or “funny bones” that are made worse by coughing, straining, bending, or twisting.”

To better understand sciatica pain, here is a short interview with expert Dr. Gaurav Gomez, read:

How to identify sciatica pain?

Sciatica has several mimics, with pain originating from muscles and back joints such as the facet and sacroiliac joints, each of which can radiate pain from the back to the back of the thigh. Alternatively, sciatica usually causes pain in the lower limbs rather than the back.

Sciatica: Risk factors

Age, obesity, poor core strength, poor posture, improper lifting techniques, certain occupations and pregnancy can predispose one to sciatica.

Although it is extremely common with a lifetime incidence of up to 40% in adults, it is often misunderstood.

Is sciatica preventable?

Do the opposite – practice proper ergonomics and lifting techniques, reduce body fat and most importantly strengthen core muscles through planks, supermen or yoga. Pregnancy can predispose to sciatica by changing the body’s center of gravity, weakening extensor core muscles, loosening ligamentous support, and adding weight to the spine. Building an adequate fitness base before and early in pregnancy, proper weight management and yoga during pregnancy are good ways to prevent sciatica.

When to see a doctor for your sciatica pain?

If the pain is debilitating, progressively worse rather than improving, preceded by a significant injury, associated with weight loss, fever or lower limb weakness, numbness or changes in bladder/bowel control, then an urgent medical evaluation is necessary to rule it out. Treat reversible factors effectively and prevent potentially more permanent lower limb and/or bowel-bladder insufficiency. Although pain can be managed later, neurological deficits are notoriously stubborn to reverse.

Sciatica Pain: Treatment

Most cases resolve with conservative care – ‘relative rest’ for a maximum of 1-2 days with continued ambulation as far as possible, oral medication, physiotherapy/chiropractic treatment, acupuncture and heat/cold compresses may help. For those with persistent, intractable or severe sciatica or its mimicry, treatment optimization and ultrasound/X-ray-guided injections or surgical management under ortho-spine specialists or neurosurgeons for certain conditions is warranted.