Sciatica is Very Different From Regular Back Pain
Sciatica is a very common condition caused by problems with the sciatic nerve. Although an estimated 40 percent of the population will experience sciatica at one time or another during their lifetime, it is a misunderstood condition. Sciatica is characterized by a shooting or searing pain that travels along the pathway of the sciatic nerve. It is the largest nerve in the human body and starts in the lower back, extending down through the buttocks with the nerve endings in the leg. Everyone is different, but patients often experience sciatic pain in the lower back, hip, or leg.
If you are someone who has struggled with sciatica in the past, you’ve likely struggled with finding relief. Unfortunately, many people deal with sciatica for weeks, months, or even years at a time. Even if you resolve it, there’s a chance it will happen again. So, what can you do about it? Your first inclination may be to reach for the pill bottle, but this could do more harm than good. These drugs may offer some relief in the moment, but they aren’t addressing the source of the pain. In recent years, regenerative medicine has come leaps and bounds.
Today, regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy are considered on the cutting edge of medicine, providing patients of all ages and medical conditions with an option that works. When used as a pain management tool, ketamine infusions, stem cell therapy, and other alternative modalities can be very useful. If you are still living with pain from sciatica after trying the at-home remedies, we are going to discuss today, contact Texas Partners Healthcare Group and make an appointment.
What is Sciatica?
Often, sciatica is talked about in the same sentence as regular back pain. However, it is very different. One of the most important distinctions is that sciatica originates with pain in the sciatic nerves – the two largest nerves in the body. These nerves are actually quite large, about as thick as your pinky finger! We tend to think of nerves as skinny networks, but knowing the size of the sciatic nerve helps explain why it can be so troublesome.
Sciatica occurs when the nerve root or fibers become pinched, compressed, or irritated for some reason. We are going to go over the common causes of sciatica later but know that most people either experience a dull soreness or throbbing heat and stabbing pain. The severity of the pain and how long it will last depends on numerous factors. Understanding what the most common signs of sciatica are will help you find the right treatment for your needs. It is crucial to keep in mind that this condition can be extremely frustrating and nagging. Patience is vital if you are going to find what is causing it and what treatment will work best.
Signs of Sciatica
Sciatica can present itself in different ways, depending on the person. Some of the most common signs your sciatic nerve has been compromised in some way include:
- Pain that radiates from the lumbar spine to the buttocks and down the back of the leg
- Discomfort anywhere along the sciatic nerve pathway
- Pain that can range from:
- A mild, dull ache
- A burning or tingling sensation
- Weakness in the lower back
- Constant pain on one side of the buttocks
- Pain that worsens when sitting
- Difficulty moving the leg or foot
- Shooting pain when standing up
- Consistent discomfort that will not go away
- Hip pain
In most cases, sciatic pain only affects one side of the body. If you are experiencing any of the above and haven’t been diagnosed with sciatica yet, contact Texas Partners Healthcare Group today. As a leading North Texas pain management clinic, we strive to help patients understand their condition and what can be done. We don’t believe in simply giving you a pill that will ‘fix’ everything. Our talented doctors care about your health and will provide you with the one-on-one attention you need to find relief.
What Causes Sciatica?
As mentioned earlier, sciatica typically happens when one or more of the roots of the low back (lumbar spine) are irritated. There are many different causes of this, including common conditions such as:
- Narrowing the spinal canal (lumbar spinal stenosis)
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spondylolisthesis (when one or more vertebrae slips forward onto or over another)
- Muscle spasms
- Lumbar herniated disc
Some individuals are at an increased risk of sciatica than others, including individuals who are overweight, do not exercise regularly, wear high heels, have poor posture, or sleep on an unsupportive mattress.
Treating Sciatica at Home
Even though sciatica can be a very frustrating condition, to say the least, there are things you can do on your own to find relief. If you have any questions about the below, or if you are still struggling with pain from sciatica, contact Texas Partners Healthcare Group and make an appointment today.
Here are some ways you can alleviate sciatica pain at home:
- Stretching – One of the best ways to find relief is with gentle stretching daily. Ideas for stretches include:
- Reclining pigeon pose
- Sitting pigeon
- Bringing the knee to the opposite shoulder
- Sitting spinal stretch
- Hamstring stretches
- Heat and cold therapy – Apply heat before any activity to warm up your low back and encourage blood flow in the area and use an ice pack afterward if the pain has increased. You can also use heat at home more frequently if you find it helps.
- Take a short walk – In the past, we were told rest was crucial for treating conditions like sciatica. Nowadays, most medical professionals agree that some movement is beneficial. Walking can help alleviate sciatic pain by reducing inflammation and releasing important endorphins.
- Meditation – Many people have found that meditation and mental pain control techniques can help reduce symptoms.
- Work on your posture – One of the leading causes of sciatica is poor posture. If you sit at a desk or think this may be your problem, work on proper posture. This is great for your entire spine and can prevent the compression of the nerve roots or fibers.
If you’ve tried these at-home tips and are still struggling, contact Texas Partners Healthcare Group today. We can help you understand your condition and find effective ways to treat your symptoms. You don’t have to live in pain – let us help.