Sciatica is a condition defined by pain that radiates into one or both sides of the buttocks and moves into the back of the legs. This is a result of constant pressure on the nervus ischiadicus – sciatic nerve, located at the base of the spine. This being our longest nerve in our bodies, it causes the pain to be felt throughout the entire length of the body. The pain can be quite uncomfortable and can get to the point where your everyday activities become difficult.
What Causes Sciatica
The primary cause of sciatica comes from a condition when the sciatic nerve becomes very tight and thus causes pain radiating throughout the body. As a result of the pain, the nerve has the potential to become further damaged. The tightness of the nerve is usually a result of a dislocated spinal disc that causes pressure and creates the painful sensation. It can also be a consequence of a benign bone growth on one of the vertebrae. In very rare cases, the sciatic nerve may be compromised by a growing tumor or an underlying condition, such as diabetes. If the pressure on the nerve is robust enough to cause pain, usually it is a result of bad posture, wearing high heels or sleeping on a bed that is too soft, so it is suggested to try sleeping on a firmer mattress, adjusting the height of your chair and working on better alignment. When suffering from sciatica, the nerve itself can, but doesn’t have to be inflamed, depending on the condition of the body. As sciatica often appears with an intense cold or a bladder infection, it can be caused by a simple vitamin B1 deficiency.
Symptoms and Treatment of Sciatica
Sciatica usually manifests itself by a painful sensation spreading from the base of the spine, through your buttocks, into the back of the thigh and lower leg, ending in the foot. The pain can be both dull and/or sharp, causing you to feel an occasional or constant burning sensation. It can also vary, so at one point the pain will be barely noticeable, while at others you can feel a sensation so strong it will seem you are being electrocuted. One side of the body is usually affected by this feeling. In certain cases, numbness or weakness in the affected area can be felt. If activities such as sneezing, coughing, lifting or bending make the pain worse, you probably suffer from sciatica.
Apart from prevention that consists of a better alignment and getting quality sleep, it is important to know that minor manifestations of the condition usually pass with time and a bit of patience. Even if you are experiencing stronger symptoms, sciatica can easily be treated and does not have to be a serious condition that keeps you from your daily tasks. Usually, your doctor will prescribe medications for muscle relaxation along with some painkillers, if necessary. There is also a possibility to resolve the issue by taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that will calm the area.