Pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical attention. Sciatica, or nerve pain in the lower back, usually causes great discomfort and can severely impact your quality of life. Though it will not last forever, sciatica symptoms may linger for a lifetime if you don’t find relief from them as soon as possible.
Sciatica is a form of discomfort that can be felt in the lower back and leg. It happens when there is pressure on a nerve that travels down your spine, from your hips to your feet. This pain can become so severe that it stops you from doing the things you enjoy most, like walking or working.
The duration of sciatica depends on the type the person has and how severe the underlying issue is. But generally, mild cases of sciatica resolve on their own within a few weeks. However, if the person with sciatica has certain medical conditions like arthritis can cause the symptoms to last several years longer.
When Can Sciatica Become Chronic
A sciatica is a medical condition that causes pain on one side of the body. This is usually in the lower back, buttock and down to the legs. It can be caused by many things like herniated discs or narrowing of the spinal canal.
Treatments for sciatica can vary depending on the underlying cause of your condition and what symptoms you are experiencing. The main goal of treatment is to manage your pain, prevent other health issues from occurring due to lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing or blockage in one or more of the lower spine's intervertebral discs), and avoid surgery if possible.
Most treatments focus on resting, stretching, physical therapy exercises that work with gravity instead of against it (such as swimming), anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen, steroid injections into the low back muscles.
Back and leg pain can be caused by many different medical conditions, but sciatica is a specific type of lower back pain that can be traced to a number of underlying issues. These include herniated discs, pinched nerves, spinal stenosis or spondylolisthesis.
A thorough assessment from your chiropractor will help you determine if you are suffering from sciatica. Most people who have it find relief with conservative treatments like physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications.
Common medical conditions that can cause sciatica include issues in your lower back irritating or inflaming a sciatic nerve root, including:
- Lumbar Herniated Disc - This happens when a disc fragment nucleus gets pushed out of the annulus and into the spinal canal through a tear or rupture, causing severe pain. This can happen due to ruptures in the disk that are often caused by repetitive motion injuries. Repetitive motions like lifting heavy objects, sitting at a desk all day or hiking up mountains for hours on end can cause these ruptures that result in pain shooting down your back. Common symptoms include extreme pain where you feel it the most (usually lower back), numbness and tingling sensations along with muscle spasms depending on which nerves have been affected by this condition.
- Spondylolisthesis - Spondylolisthesis occurs when a spinal vertebra moves out of place, often causing pain. Most people believe that spondylolisthesis only occurs because of excessive force exerted on the spine. This is not always the case as it can also be caused by other factors such as bone disorders or herniated disks in the lower back. The condition usually impacts one side of your spine more than the other which can lead to problems with balance and coordination.
- Muscle Spasm In Pelvic Muscles can happen when a muscle in your body involuntarily and forcibly contracts, resulting in debilitating pain.
Sciatica is common when you experience lower back pain, and can last up to 4-6 weeks. Eventually your sciatic nerve should start feeling better over time without treatment. However, sciatica can become chronic and persistent when left untreated for several months or years.
Home Remedies for Sciatica
The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back down to each of your legs. It's a very large nerve, with several vital functions in your body. The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc that compresses this nerve as it exits the spine.
Sciatica happens differently for everyone, as several nerve roots may get affected in sciatica, each causing pain and numbness in different parts of your thighs, legs, and feet. There are several treatments for sciatica you can try at home, but remember that their effects vary between individuals—and finding the best one is often a process of trial and error.
The pain may also radiate to your lower back, buttocks or legs. Sciatica is quite common in adults and occurs when there is a problem with the sciatic nerve that runs from the spine down through the buttock and leg.
Try a combination of these home remedies to get some relief from your sciatica.
- Ice Therapy - When you experience pain from sciatica, there are a few ways to go about dealing with it. Ice therapy is one of the most effective and versatile methods that you can turn to. While ice packs used for conventional injury recovery may be easily found in stores or online, they’re not always ideal for people who want something more convenient than that. For this reason, we decided to create an article dedicated entirely to ice therapy.
- Heat Therapy - Herniated discs can cause a lot of pain in the lower back. The most common complaint is sciatica, which affects 70% of people with herniated disc problems. Discs are located between vertebrae and serve as cushions to absorb shock from activities and keep bones from grinding together. A degenerative disc typically develops small cracks that causes it to bulge or rupture; this causes the nerves running through the spine to be pinched, leading to pain radiating down one or both legs (sciatica).
- Pain-Relieving Medication - Many people experience a sharp pain in the back and leg from sciatica. This happens when you suffer from pressure on your nerves that cause pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness. Sciatica is also known as piriformis syndrome. There are some ways to relieve the pain of sciatica naturally using medications like over-the-counter options or prescription medication if necessary.
- Chiropractic Treatment - Adjustments and alignments can relieve the affected areas and can reduce muscle tension while improving blood circulation, easing pain.
There is no one-size-fits all approach to treating sciatica. For some, the condition subsides on its own or with minimal treatment. Others find relief from anti-inflammatory drugs and pain management techniques.
As with any health concern, the best advice is to consult your chiropractor so he can tailor a treatment plan unique to your needs.
Caring for sciatica needs to be considered a normal part of daily living. Although most symptoms disappear within a couple of weeks without any complications, they can last for months or years if left untreated. That's why it's best to practice preventive measures and exercises to mitigate sciatica as fast as possible.