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What are the symptoms and treatment of sciatica? By Dr. Sai Dileep Viswandha

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a disorder characterized by pain radiating along the sciatic nerve, which travels from the lower back to the back of each leg.

The most common causes are ruptured discs, bone spurs on the spine, and spinal stenosis, which narrows the spine and compresses a segment of the Sciatica is a condition characterized by pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down the back of each leg. The most common causes of sciatica are ruptured discs, bone spurs on the spine, and spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spine that puts pressure on a section of the nerve


  • Pain that travels from the lower back down the back of each leg along the sciatic nerve is the hallmark of sciatica.


  • Herniated disks, bone spurs on the spine, and spinal stenosis—a condition that narrows the spine and compresses a portion of the nerve—are the most frequent causes.


treatment of sciatica


With a width of up to two centimeters, or the diameter of a penny coin in the United States or a pence coin in the United Kingdom, the sciatic nerve is the most substantial in the human anatomy. In contrast to what its name implies, the sciatic nerve is a collection of nerves that originate from five nerve roots that radiate from the spinal cord


Types of sciatica


Severe Sciatica

Reasons for Severe Sciatica

Acute sciatica is typically brought on by a rapid strain or damage to the lower back, such as an injury sustained while playing sports or moving a large object incorrectly. A herniated disc that compresses the sciatic nerve may possibly be the cause.


 Prolonged sciatica

Reasons for Prolonged Sciatica

Over time, chronic sciatica develops and is frequently linked to degenerative changes in the spine, including spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis. It might also be the outcome of chronic nerve injury.


Switching Up Sciatica

Reasons for Changing Sciatica

When sciatica affects both legs alternately, it is known as alternating sciatica. Disorders, including bilateral spinal problems or dysfunction of the sacroiliac joint, may be the cause of this.


Bilateral Sciatica

Causes of Bilateral Sciatica

Bilateral sciatica is less common and occurs when both sciatic nerves are affected simultaneously. This can be due to severe spinal stenosis or a large herniated disc pressing on nerve roots on both sides.



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What are the symptoms of sciatica?

Consisting of a wide range of symptoms, sciatica symptoms often include:


1. Lower Back Pain: This type of pain usually originates in the lower back, passes through the buttocks, and then continues into the leg. On one or both sides of the body, it may be searing or sharp.


2. Leg Pain: The pain typically travels from the lower back through the thigh and calf, following the course of the sciatic nerve. This pain may be excruciating and incapacitating.


3. Numbness or Tingling: Many sciatica sufferers report having tingling, numbness, or a pins-and-needles feeling in their foot or leg. This occasionally affects movement and feeling.


4. weakening of the muscles: This symptom is more serious. It indicates that your back or legs are not receiving the muscle command messages that they should be receiving.


5. Either fecal or urinary incontinence: This symptom is really serious. It indicates that the impulses governing your colon and bladder aren't getting where they should.


6. Sciatica Pain affected in the body: The source of sciatica pain is pressure on the nerve or nerves that are afflicted. The majority of people say that sciatica hurts like an electric shock or burn. Additionally, this pain frequently radiates or shoots down the afflicted leg. Coughing, sneezing, leaning over, or raising your legs while lying on your back can all cause pain.


Paresthesia, or "pins and needles," is tingling. This sensation is comparable to what you get when you sit cross-legged and one of your legs falls asleep.

Absence of feeling. This is the point at which the afflicted regions of your leg or back become nerve-free. It occurs when signals from your legs or back aren't getting to your brain.

weakening of the muscles. This symptom is more serious.



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What are the risk factors for sciatica?

Because there are numerous causes of sciatica, there are numerous risk factors that could arise. These include, but are not limited to:


Current or previous injuries: been injured, either recently or in the past. Sciatica is more likely to occur if you have a lower back or spine injury.

 typical damage: Herniated disks, pinched nerves, and other disorders that can result in sciatica are caused by regular wear and tear on your spine as you age. One can also consider age-related diseases such as osteoarthritis.

being obese or overweight: When you stand straight up, your spine resembles a building crane. Your vertebrae must lift the weight that is carried by your front of the body. Your back's muscles act like a winch and cable, lifting you upright.

The more weight you have, the more your back muscles have to work. That can lead to back strains, pain and other issues.

Having insufficient core strength: Your “core” is the term for the muscles of your back and abdomen (stomach area). Like in the crane analogy, having a stronger core is like upgrading the crane’s components to handle a heavier load. The muscles of your abdomen are important because they help anchor your back muscles.

Your job. Jobs that require heavy lifting, a lot of bending, or working in awkward or unusual positions may increase your risk of low back problems. However, jobs with prolonged sitting — especially without proper back support — may also increase your risk of low back problems.

Not using good posture and form when lifting. Even if you’re physically fit and active, you can still be prone to sciatica if you don’t follow proper body form during weight lifting, strength training or similar activities.

Having diabetes: Type 2 diabetes increases your risk of diabetes-related peripheral neuropathy. That damages your nerves, including any of the nerves that can cause or contribute to sciatica.

Physical inactivity: Sitting for long periods and a lack of physical activity can contribute to an increased risk of sciatica.

Using tobacco. Nicotine use can affect circulation and increase your risk of chronic pain. That includes conditions like sciatica.

Unknown causes: Many cases of sciatica don’t have a cause that healthcare providers can find.



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Impact of treatment 

Therapy Effects: Patients with sciatica and spondylitis may have more intense and persistent pain. Treating one ailment can sometimes exacerbate the other, therefore a personalized treatment approach is required to effectively manage both. These disorders are often treated with a mix of physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.

Pharmaceutical medications.

 Painkillers, muscle relaxers, and other medications may help with sciatica symptoms. Other medications, like tricyclic antidepressants and anti-seizure medications, may also help if you have chronic or nerve-based pain.

Physical therapy: The goal of physical therapy is to find exercise movements that decrease sciatica by reducing pressure on the nerve. Options include stretching exercises or low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or water aerobics.

Spinal injections: Injections like corticosteroids may provide short-term relief (typically up to three months). These usually involve local anesthesia, so there’s less discomfort. Your healthcare provider can tell you more about this process.


Conclusion

Sciatica is a complex condition with various types, each requiring specific approaches to treatment and management. Understanding the different types of sciatica and their causes can help individuals seek appropriate care and prevent long-term complications. Early intervention, lifestyle changes, and proper medical treatment can significantly improve the quality of life for those affected by sciatica.


If you are experiencing symptoms of sciatica and are looking for effective treatment in Visakhapatnam, get in touch with Dr. Sai Dileep Viswandha at Visakha Spinetics.


Dr. Viswandha specializes in providing comprehensive care for sciatica and other spine-related conditions. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and begin your journey to pain relief and recovery.


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