Sciatica Treatment & Diagnostics in Sadashiv Peth, Pune
Sciatica refers to the nerve pain in the leg which originates in the lower back, extends into the buttock, and travels down the leg. Sciatica is also known as sciatic neuralgia or sciatic neuropathy and it affects only one side of the body or just one leg at a time. Sciatica is not a condition, rather it refers to a set of symptoms generally caused by an underlying medical issue and develops over a period. Sciatica is often confused with leg pain or lower back pain but sciatica particularly refers to the pain that originates from the sciatic nerve. The Sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve found in the human body. The Sciatic nerve extends from the lower back of the spinal cord, moving down the back of the thigh, and divides above the knee joint.
Sciatica is mainly found among people around the age of 40 and affects 10% to 40% of the population. Generally, a person affected by sciatica takes about 4 to 6 weeks to recover from non-surgical medications.
Sciatica is a set of symptoms caused by another intrinsic medical condition. Some medical conditions that can cause Sciatica are:
- Herniated lumbar disc – it can cause sciatica through direct compression or chemical inflammation.
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Lumbar degenerative disc disease
- Muscle spasm
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
- Trauma injury to the sciatic nerve
- Tumors in the lumbar spinal cord
Some less common cause for Sciatica includes:
- Cauda equina syndrome
- Piriformis syndrome
- Injury within the spine
- Never damage from diabetes
- Growing of a fetus during pregnancy resulting in nerve compression
- Constant or intermittent pain in the affected leg.
- Lower back pain.
- Hip pain.
- Numbness or tingling sensation at the back of the leg.
- Weakness in the leg or foot.
- Heaviness in the affected leg.
- Change in posture may induce pain – worsened condition while bending the spine forward, sitting, trying to stand or lying down, or while coughing or sneezing.
- Loss of movement.
- Loss of bowel control.
- “Pin and needle” like feeling in the legs.
- Swelling in back or spine.
The sciatic never constitutes of 5 nerve roots and the symptoms of sciatica may vary accordingly:
- Symptoms for Sciatica caused due to L4 nerve root:
- Pain in the hip.
- Pain in the thigh.
- Pain in the areas around the knee and calf.
- Numbness around the inner calf.
- Weakness in hip and thigh muscles.
- Reduced reflex action around the knee.
- Symptoms for Sciatica caused due to L5 nerve root
- Weakness in leg muscles.
- Difficulty in movement of the ankle.
- Pain in the lateral part of the thigh and leg.
- Pain in the buttock area.
- Numbness in the area between the great toe and the second toe.
- Symptoms for Sciatica caused due to S1 nerve root
- Loss of reflex in the ankle.
- Pain in the calf and side of the foot.
- Numbness in the outer side of the foot.
- Weakness in foot muscles.
When to see a doctor?
You should see a doctor if you experience the above symptoms. If your leg pain is persistent, call your doctor immediately.
Request an appointment at Apollo Spectra Hospitals, Swargate, Pune
Call 1860-500-2244 to book an appointment
Certain medications that are recommended for sciatica pain are:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as aspirin or ibuprofen
- Anti-seizure medications
- Muscle relaxants
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Oral steroids
- Anticonvulsant medications
- Opioid analgesics
Other treatments for Sciatica are:
- Physical Therapy: this is a program wherein your physical therapist will recommend you certain exercises to deal with the correct posture of the body and strengthening of muscles.
- Chiropractic Therapy: it allows for unrestricted movement of the spine through spinal manipulation.
- Steroid Injections: injections of corticosteroid medication that helps in reducing the pain by suppressing inflammation around the irritated nerve can be recommended by your doctor. Though the number of injections that can be taken is restricted because of certain serious side effects.
- Massage Therapy: this helps in improving the blood circulation around the affected area, helps relax strained muscles, and releases endorphins, which act as natural pain relievers.
- Lumbar Therapeutic Injections: these help in treating the pain caused due to sciatica.
- Acupuncture: this involves thin needles which are placed into the skin at specific points to bring relief from lower back pain.
- Surgery: Surgery is generally recommended when the sciatica pain persists for more than 6 to 8 weeks. Microdiscectomy and Lumbar Decompression Surgeries are generally recommended.
Sciatica can be treated through certain self-care measures or remedies as well. These self-care measures may include:
- Cold packs: to ease the pain, cold packs should be used initially on the affected area a frequent number of times, as required.
- Hot pads: hot pads or hot packs should be used after a period of 2-3 days. If there is no significant relief, alternating heating and cold packs can be used.
- Exercising and Stretching: light exercises benefitting the legs and lower back should be practiced. Jerks and twists during stretching and exercising should be avoided.
- Refresh posture – sitting or staying in the same posture for a prolonged period should be avoided.
- Sit up straight – straight back while sitting should be maintained.
Certain stretches that should be practiced to relieve the sciatica pain are:
- Sitting pigeon pose
- Forward pigeon pose
- Reclining pigeon pose
- Standing hamstring stretch
- Sitting spinal stretch
- Knee to the opposite shoulder
Sciatica can take place in both legs, however, it happens in one leg at a time, depending on the affected area of the nerve.
Sciatica can be caused due to various underlying medical issues, but the most common cause is Herniated lumbar disc. Around 90% of the people suffering from sciatica hold a primary condition of herniated lumbar disc.
There are several risk factors related to sciatica, these may include being overweight, smoking, a physically straining job, diabetes, and an inactive lifestyle.
A person suffering from sciatica generally takes 4 to 6 weeks to heal from the pain and other symptoms.