Sciatica is the name given to the condition whereby the person experiences pain, numbness and/or tingling sensation along the sciatic nerve. This nerve is the largest single nerve found in a human’s body. It originates from the spine in the lower back (the lumbar region) and extends through the hips and the back of the legs.
Symptoms of Sciatica
A classic symptom of sciatica is soreness, pain, and numbness in the lower back and hips, combined with pain in either one leg. In rare cases, the person may experience pain in both legs too, along with a tingling sensation or numbness in the toes. This pain is further aggravated while sitting and can make any sort of movement such as walking or standing really difficult. Lying down can provide some relief, however, studies show that this relief is only temporary and does nothing to address the cause of the pain, therefore it can be considered a remedy for sciatica.
Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched, inflamed or irritated at the point of its origin, i.e. the spine. This can be due to a number of reasons including bad posture, remaining seated for prolonged periods of time, physical injury or accident that affects the lower back, sprained or tightened back muscles, and heavy lifting.
Sciatica and Our Lifestyle
Sciatica is becoming an increasingly common condition primarily due to our lifestyles which include a lot of sitting, be it at a desk at the office or in the car while driving. Symptoms of acute sciatica can last for anywhere between a few days to several weeks. During this time, it is recommended that the person engages in some light exercises and stretches, improves posture, and limits the time they spend setting in order to provide relief to the sciatic nerve. This along with massage and muscle relaxants can loosen the back muscles so that they exert less pressure on the sciatic nerve. Opting for physical therapy, a standing desk, and trying a back brace can all assist in dealing with sciatica.
When to Seek Medical AttentionIn many cases, the symptoms of acute sciatica will go away without medical attention if appropriate measures are taken. However, chances are that it will flare up again soon if the person reverts back to their poor posture or sitting habits etc. if symptoms persist, or the condition appears to be worsening, the person should consult a doctor.
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