When Should I Contact My Healthcare Provider
Get immediate medical attention if you experience:
- Severe leg pain lasting more than a few hours that is unbearable.
- Numbness or muscle weakness in the same leg.
- Bowel or bladder control loss. This could be due to a condition called cauda equina syndrome, which affects bundles of nerves at the end of the spinal cord.
- Sudden and severe pain from a traffic accident or some other trauma.
Even if your visit doesnt turn out to be an emergency situation, its best to get it checked out.
Myth : We Dont Know What Causes Sciatica
Fact: Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched or compressed, and that typically is caused by a bulging or herniated disk between the vertebrae in the lower spine.
It can also be caused by a bone spur, or bony growth, on the spine itself or by spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal. In rare cases, a spinal tumor can compress the nerve, causing sciatic pain.
What Can I Expect If I Have Been Diagnosed With Sciatica
The good news about sciatic pain is that it usually goes away on its own with time and some self-care treatments. Most people with sciatica get better without surgery, and about half of these recover from an episode fully within six weeks.
Be sure to contact your healthcare provider if your sciatica pain is not improving and you have concerns that you arent recovering as quickly as hoped.
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You May Develop A Loss Of Motor Control And Sensation
In extreme cases, patients suffer a loss of sensation in the affected limb. This is especially dangerous for diabetic patients, as the loss of sensation is exacerbated and accompanied by a loss of motor control.
The sciatic nerve is responsible for lending sensation to the lateral and posterior lower legincluding the plantar nerve. It also provides motor functions to pivotal muscles and the hamstrings. Prolonged compression of the sciatic nerve causes a reduction and gradual cessation of sensation, resulting in painful and debilitating loss of movement.
In such cases, patients experience irreparable motor dysfunction that leads to the need for an amputation.
What Is The Fastest Way To Cure Sciatica
Alternating heat and ice therapy can provide immediate relief of sciatic nerve pain. Ice can help reduce inflammation, while heat encourages blood flow to the painful area . Heat and ice may also help ease painful muscle spasms that often accompany sciatica.5 Sciatica Remedies for Low Back and Leg Pain SpineUniverse
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Reasons You Shouldnt Ignore The Symptoms Of Sciatica
One of the most common lower back disorders, sciatica afflicts more than 80% of Americans at any given time. According to Harvard Health, the condition is just as rampant at a macro scale, with over 40% of the global population experiencing its symptoms.
The disorder causes dull or sharp pain, numbness, and weakness along the path of the sciatic nerve, which begins at the spinal cord, traverses through the hips and buttocks, and extends down the legs.
However, despite the conditions prevalence, many people leave it undiagnosed and untreated, thereby putting themselves at risk of developing chronic back pain that inhibits functionality, mobility, and flexibility.
If left unaddressed, the condition can worsen, eventually requiring surgery.
The symptoms of sciatica commonly include:
- Back and hip pain
- A tingling pins and needles sensation that extends throughout the legs
- Weakness and numbness
- Tightness in the affected area
- Shooting aches that cause difficulty in standing
While the symptoms may be mild in their initial stages, they tend to increase in severity as the condition progresses. Prolonging the time elapsed between the onset of symptoms and diagnosis can cause long-term damage to the sciatic nerve.
If youve been overlooking the symptoms of sciatica, it may be time to acknowledge the conditions acuteness and seek remedial treatment accordingly.
Weve rounded up five reasons you shouldnt disregard the deleterious symptoms of sciatica.
When Should I Call My Doctor About Electromyography
- Bleeding that doesnt stop.
- Severe pain or tenderness where the needles entered the skin.
- Redness, warmth, swelling or a fever. These may be signs of an infection.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If you have signs of muscle disease, nerve damage or injury, an EMG test will help your provider deliver an accurate diagnosis. It also helps your provider plan treatment. Before an EMG test, be sure to tell your provider if youre taking blood thinner medications. These drugs can increase your risk of bleeding after the test.
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Common Sciatica Cause #: Lumbar Bulging Disc Or Herniated Disc
The discs in the spine serve several functions, including giving the spine its flexibility, acting as cushions for the vertebrae, and evenly transferring the load placed on the spine from one disc to another. Disc bulging and herniation occur more frequently in the lumbar spine simply because that part of the spine supports the entire weight of the upper body as well as whatever objects you may need to pick up.
Bulging and herniated discs are almost the same, but not quite. A bulging disc is a contained disc disorder. The gel-like center of the disc remains “contained” within the tire-like outer wall of the disc but can extend the outer wall enough to press on a nearby nerve or nerve root.
A herniated disc occurs when the nucleus breaks through the annulus fibrosus. It is called a non-contained disc disorder. Whether a disc bulges or herniates, disc material can press against an adjacent nerve root and compress delicate nerve tissue and cause sciatica. This compression can occur on only one side of the sciatic nerve and cause symptoms on only one side of the body or compress it on both sides and give you symptoms on both sides of the body .
Are There Home Remedies And Self
Keys to the management of acute sciatica include relief of pain and relaxing associated muscle spasms. Home remedies include heat and cold pack topical administration, over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen , non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen , ibuprofen , and aspirin, and physical therapy that incorporates gradual exercises and stretching. Exercises and stretching can sometimes best be guided by physical therapists.
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When Is Surgery Considered
Spinal surgery is usually not recommended unless you have not improved with other treatment methods such as stretching and medication, your pain is worsening, you have severe weakness in the muscles in your lower extremities or you have lost bladder or bowel control.
How soon surgery would be considered depends on the cause of your sciatica. Surgery is typically considered within a year of ongoing symptoms. Pain that is severe and unrelenting and is preventing you from standing or working and youve been admitted to a hospital would require more aggressive treatment and a shorter timeline to surgery. Loss of bladder or bowel control could require emergency surgery if determined to be cauda equine syndrome.
The goal of spinal surgery for sciatic pain is to remove the pressure on the nerves that are being pinched and to make sure the spine is stable.
Surgical options to relieve sciatica include:
Microdiscectomy: This is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove fragments of a herniated disk that are pressing on a nerve.
- Laminectomy: In this procedure, the lamina that is causing pressure on the sciatic nerve is removed.
Myths And Facts About Sciatica
Sciatica is pain or numbness anywhere along the sciatic nerve which runs from the lower spine, through the buttocks, and down the backs of the legs caused by compression of the nerve.
The pain of sciatica can range from mild to excruciating, but in most cases its self-limiting, meaning it goes away on its own. Of course, while you have it, it feels like itll never go away.
What are some common myths about sciatica? And whats the truth of the matter?
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Examples Of Sciatic Nerve In A Sentence
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These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘sciatic nerve.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Take Charge Of Stress
No, the pain isn’t “all in your head,” but your emotions can play a role. Stress causes your muscles to tense up and also makes the pain seem worse. Biofeedback, which shows you how your thinking and behavior affects your breathing and heart rate, might offer some relief. You could also try cognitive behavioral therapy. You’ll work with a mental health expert who will help you change your behaviors and thoughts.
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Is The Weight Of Pregnancy The Reason Why So Many Pregnant Women Get Sciatica
Its true that sciatica is common in pregnancy but increased weight is not the main reason why pregnant women get sciatica. A better explanation is that certain hormones of pregnancy cause a loosening of their ligaments. Ligaments hold the vertebrae together, protect the disks and keep the spine stable. Loosened ligaments can cause the spine to become unstable and might cause disks to slip, which leads to nerves being pinched and the development of sciatica. The babys weight and position can also add pressure to the nerve.
The good news is there are ways to ease sciatic pain during pregnancy, and the pain goes away after birth. Physical therapy and massage therapy, warm showers, heat, medications and other measures can help. If you are pregnant, be sure to follow good posture techniques during pregnancy to also ease your pain.
How Does Electromyography Work And What Can I Expect On The Day Of Testing
The EMG study usually includes two parts: 1) Nerve Conduction Studies and 2) Needle electrode examination .
During the first part of the test , small discs are placed on the skin to record nerve function. Mild electrical stimulation is then applied over the skin to test the ability of the nerves to carry the electrical impulse to the recording discs. You can think of your nerves as being similar to electrical cables. A damaged cable will prevent electricity from running through it and powering the devices it is attached to . In a similar way, damaged nerves will prevent electrical signals from running through and being recorded by the discs attached to your skin.
During the second part of the test , a tiny needle is placed into muscles to directly test the function and health of the muscles. A mild pinprick sensation may be felt when the needle is placed into the muscle. During this part of the testing, no electrical stimulation is delivered through the needle and nothing is injected through the needle tip. You can think of the needle as being similar to a microphone. It is only a recording device. The needle is attached via a cable to a computer which allows your physician to both hear and see what your muscle is doing both at rest and with movement.
When Is It A Medical Emergency
Part of the problem with sciatic nerve pain is that it can obscure other more serious conditions. For instance, a recent article in World Neurosurgery indicated that lumbar radiculopathy can mask tumors growing alongside the nerve. If pain persists when palpating the cleft between the buttocks, further scans may be necessary. Any abnormal readings on those scans may indicate the presence of tumors.
As mentioned above, sciatic nerve pain symptoms can include weakness along the legs, urinary problems, and/or incontinence. These may indicate a serious medical condition, particularly if they occur suddenly. The most likely culprit would be cauda equina syndrome, a severe compression of the bundle of nerves at the end of the spine. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons notes that cauda equina syndrome most commonly results from a massive herniated disc in the lumbar region. A single excessive strain or injury may cause a herniated disc. However, disc material degenerates naturally as a person ages, and the ligaments that hold it in place begin to weaken. As this degeneration progresses, a relatively minor strain or twisting movement can cause a disc to rupture.
Sciatica Causes And Risk Factors
Sciatica results from irritation of the root of your lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine.
Additional common causes of sciatica include:
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disk disease
- Muscle spasm in the back or buttocks
Other things that may make you more likely to have sciatica include:
- Your job, especially if it involves driving for long periods of time, twisting your back, or carrying heavy things
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Rid Yourself Of Sciatica Pain Quickly With Sciatica Diagnosis And Treatment In Atlanta Ga
If painful sciatica symptoms are making your everyday life miserable, it may be time to seek help. Call the caring team at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta to schedule your private in-office or online consultation with sought-after orthopedic expert Dr. Christopher Williams today, and discover how getting quick relief from sciatica nerve pain may be easier than you think!
What Are Some Less Common Causes Of Sciatica
Some lesser-known causes of sciatica can include:
- Endometriosis, a growing of uterine tissue outside of the uterus that can accumulate in areas that surround the sciatic nerve or the sciatic nerve itself
- Infection in the spine or spinal column that causes an abscess to form and press on the sciatic nerve or damage to the nerve itself
- Nerve damage from diabetes
- Shifting or growing of a fetus during pregnancy that can result in nerve compression
- Side effects from medications
Another common source of traumatic injury is direct damage to the peroneal nerve, says Dr. Subach. This often results from a knee dislocation or lower leg fracture and may present as numbness in the back of the calf or weakness in the ankle when pointing the toes toward the shin. Infrequently, it may occur in a post-operative knee or hip replacement patient. Ruling out a spinal cause in such cases is imperative.
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Natural Ways To Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain
Ever wake up feeling agonizing pain all the way from your upper thighs to your feet? Do you deal with nagging lower back pain that spreads downward through your buttock and wont seem to quit no matter what you try? You could be dealing with sciatic nerve pain, also called sciatica, which causes painful throbbing in the lower back and limbs. The pain radiates down the body and can be a symptom of spinal stenosis. Its also closely related to piriformis syndrome since the piriformis muscle is near the sciatic nerve.
The problem all starts in the lower spine and can come and go, but one things usually certain when sciatic nerve pain rears its ugly head, youre dealing with a whole lot of discomfort that can quickly ruin your day. Given that the sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the body, this makes sense.
The good news is there are remedies for back pain that treat sciatic nerve pain and improve spine health. What are these natural sciatica treatments, and what causes this debilitating lower-body pain? Lets investigate.
What Are Other Treatment Options For Sciatica
Other treatment options for sciatica depend on its cause and include addressing the underlying cause and physical therapy.
- Transcutaneous nerve stimulators are sometimes useful for more chronic forms of sciatica.
- A variety of low back conditioning and stretching exercises are employed to help people recover from sciatica.
- Medications used in the treatment of sciatica include pain relievers, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories, and antidepressants.
- Antidepressants actually can help in this setting by reducing pain perception in the brain.
- Other medications that may be helpful include gabapentin and duloxetine .
Cortisone medications, given orally or by local injection , can sometimes be helpful in relieving sciatica pain.
Surgical procedures can sometimes be required for persisting sciatica that is caused by nerve compression at the lower spine. Sometimes pain management specialists help with chronic sciatica conditions.
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Sciatica Treatment At Tuckahoe Family Chiropractic
At Tuckahoe Family Chiropractic we gently correct subluxations throughout the spine and neck on a daily basis. When you have sciatic pain, our initial approach will be to identify the underlying cause of your pain and work to correct that. Chiropractic care corrects the actual cause of your sciatic pain it doesn’t just mask the problem like pain medication does. Chiropractors use gentle adjustments that allow your spinal to be restored to properly alignment. This relieves the pressure on the nerves, allows the central nervous system to function as it should, and alleviates your sciatica pain. To correctly identify the root cause of your sciatic pain, we will conduct any necessary exams. These exams can include: chiropractic, physical exams, neurological, orthopedic, and x-rays if needed. In addition to these exams, we also have non-invasive computer scans that show us exactly how your nervous system is functioning.
Chiropractic care is the recommended first course of treatment for dealing with sciatica and its pain. From reading this article, you now understand that sciatica is not just something to ignore or self-treat with pain medication. The potential repercussions of untreated sciatica can be very inconvenient to say the least.