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Information on Sciatica and Causes

The term sciatica describes the symptoms of leg pain and possibly tingling, numbness or weakness that travels from the low back through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of the leg. The vast majority of people who experience sciatica get better with time (usually a few weeks or months) and find pain relief with non-surgical sciatica treatment. For others, however, sciatica can be severe and debilitating.


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Exercise When you are having pains in your lower back, one of the best exercises for your body are to stretch. When you stretch your lower back you relieve your hips. This helps your legs to no longer be numb and to be able to walk a little better. You should never push your exercise routines. If you are stretching, don't do it for over 10 minutes at a time. This would be of no help at all for your sciatica nerve pain. Also, working and stretching your stomach muscles helps to loosen all your lower body joints. Just because you think you should try this doesn't mean you should do it for over 20 minutes. Don't over work yourself. It could only make your body ache worse. Your Piriformis is another muscle in your body to stretch that will help relieve the pain going on in your lower back and legs. Be sure you have a chair handy when about to perform this exercise. The first thing you will want to do is to make sure you are sitting up straight and to cross your legs, not Indian style, lady like, while doing this grab on to the chair legs, and bend your body downward. This will help you to relieve your sciatica nerve pain.

About the Author:

Dr. George Best has been treating patients with sciatica and piriformis syndrome in his San Antonio, Texas practice since 1992. To access his free E-book and his free video course on understanding and treating sciatica, go to http://www.sciaticaselfcare.com.

When the symptoms have subsided, it is extremely important to learn what sciatica exercises you can do to prevent the symptoms from returning in the future. Don't be fooled! Just because the symptoms go away, it doesn't mean that everything is back to normal. All too often, sciatica sufferers go from one episode of pain to the next, with episodes becoming more severe and more frequent over time, because they fail to manage the problem correctly so you can avoid the common problem of developing chronic pain and disability.

For true sciatica, most people will find relief through the basic McKenzie extension exercise (named for physical thearapist Robin McKenzie). This exercise is performed by lying face down on a firm surface and then propping yourself up on your elbows, creating an increase in the curve of the lower back. Getting into this position may be painful at first, but within about 30 seconds, most people will notice a decrease in the severity or the range of the sciatica, or both. A positive sign is when the symptoms furthest from the spine decrease.

An easy method to help you determine what the problem is can be done by doing a couple of tests while sitting in a firm chair. In the sitting position, try straightening your knee on the painful side, so that your leg is parallel to the floor. If this increases your symptoms, chances are you have true sciatica related to a disc problem.

Sciatica is pain that starts in the back and radiates down one of the legs. It is quite a common complaint and is sciatica is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve which runs down into the leg. The medical term is acute nerve root compression. The cause of pressure can be varied from a Slipped (Prolapsed) disk to muscle tension (Piriformis syndrome) or something less common such as a tumors, bony growths and infections.

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As long as the symptoms are decreasing furthest from the spine, the exercise described is beneficial, even if the symptoms closer to the spine seem to increase at first (they'll usually improve with repetition of the exercise over time). I suggest you remain in this position for a couple of minutes and then take a break by either just lying flat, or by getting up and walking for at least a few minutes in between the exercise repetitions in order to avoid developing a lot of tightness in the low back muscles.

To figure out what exercise will be of most benefit, it is important to try to distinguish whether you have sciatica from a lumbar disc bulge /herniation, or whether you have a condition called "piriformis syndrome", which produces symptoms very similar to disc-related sciatica but is caused by contraction of the piriformis muscle in the buttock area.

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The author gives advice on getting relief from sciatic nerve pain. To discover how to get relief from your sciatica pains visit SciaticNervePains.com

As the initial sciatica pain sets in, anti-inflammatory medicines may be taken to manage and decrease the pain. Possible medications are ibuprofen drugs such as Nuprin, Motrin, and Advil. COX-2 inhibitors are another option to aid in reducing the pain.

Nerves are cord like structure which consist of several nerve fibres. Sciatic nerve is the largest nerve of our body which is also called as Great Nerve. It is around 2 cms in diameter. It arises from nerve (roots) plexus emerging from the sacrum (back part of hip bone). It comes out of the pelvis through greater sciatic foramen (opening) in the hip bone with piriformis muscle which unites hip joint and femur. From there it descends on the backside of the leg, deep into the gluteus muscles (buttock). It gives out branches tibial nerve and common peroneal nerve to supply medial and posterior aspect of leg.

Whether you need the McKenzie extension exercise, or the piriformis stretch, or both, the sciatica exercises work best when repeated frequently - up to several times per day while you are having signficant symptoms.

Sciatica exercises come in many different forms, but the last thing you need when you're in pain is to have to learn a complicated exercise routine. But using exercise to alleviate sciatica doesn't have to be difficult. Getting relief can be as simple as doing just one exercise and doing it frequently until such time as the pain is gone or at least much improved.

Before reviewing specific sciatica exercises, it is first important to explain what sciatica is, as the term sciatica is often misused and its definition often misunderstood. Sciatica is a set of symptoms rather than a diagnosis in itself (meaning it does not explain the cause of the pain). Sciatica (radiculopathy) is a general term that refers to pain caused by compression or irritation of one or more nerves exiting the lower spine that make up the sciatic nerve, and there are a number of different conditions that can cause this.

The pain brought upon by sciatica is usually a cause by considerable factors like compressions on the nerve roots, and inflammation of the disc material. It is possible to gain quick relief from such anti-inflammatory medications, as they help to reduce the swelling or the inflammation, therefore, pressure on the nerve roots also will be resolved.

To avoid the need for ongoing usage of the oral steroids for sciatica, exercises and physical therapies are beneficial and will provide a long term rehabilitation and hopefully a cure for the herniated disc problem. At the start of the program, the physical therapist may apply some modalities like ice or heat compress or ultrasound to decrease muscle spasm.

 
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A primary cause of sciatica is a herniated or bulging lower lumbar intervertebral disk that compresses one of the nerve roots before it joins the sciatic nerve. Sometimes, irritation of a branch of the sciatic nerve in the leg can be so severe as to set up a reflex pain reaction involving the entire length of the nerve. For example, if the nerve is pinched or irritated near the knee, you may feel the pain in the hip and buttock.

The decision to undergo surgery however depends greatly on the patients decision, with the help and support of the surgeon or with the attending doctor. It is always best to exhaust all forms of sciatica relief treatments before deciding on surgery.

Other non-invasive mode of treatment is the cervical traction in which, it lifts off the pressure on the nerve roots. However, this is not guaranteed to work perfectly well for everybody and is completely reliant on the health condition and age of the patient suffering from the herniated disc. This is however a reasonably simple method to implement. A home traction kit device may be conveniently used by patients who respond positively to this form of treatment, to help them cope with the pain associated with a herniated disc.

Causes While sciatica is most commonly a result of a disc herniation directly pressing on the nerve, any cause of irritation or inflammation of this nerve can reproduce the symptoms of sciatica. These causes include irritation of the nerve from adjacent bone, tumors, muscle, internal bleeding, infections, injury, and other causes.

Conclusion The typical and often first recommended sciatica pain relief treatment is simply bed rest. But like any other medical conditions, herniated disc symptoms can be manifested in a lot of different ways, depending on the person and his/her lifestyle specifically related to exercise. In most serious conditions where nothing seemed to effectively work regardless of whatever techniques you applied, injections and oral steroids can be an option and should be explored. Implementing an ongoing system of physical strengthening exercises in conjunction with the steroids will see a remarkable improvement in most herniated disc conditions. Oral steroids for a herniated disc help with the pain and the swelling at the same time. If nothing is working and the pain of the herniated disc persists it may be well worth considering surgery as an option.

Once you determine whether you have true sciatica or piriformis syndrome, or both, you can usually get considerable relief from just a single exercise for either condition (two exercises if you have both).

Oral steroids for sciatica are also administered in more severe cases. These prescriptions provide pain relief. But take note that such medications can only be used for shorter periods of time only. Oral steroids for herniated disc include Medrol Dose Pak, methyprednisolone, and Predisone.

Go Natural There are many different medicines that can help you with your sciatica nerve pain. Not all are natural which also means that not all are very good for you. When you are looking to buy a medicine for your sciatica nerve pain, you should definitely look into all natural supplements for your body. There is no best way to treat your aching pains when your sciatica nerve pain acts up. Also if you talk to your doctor about the problem you have with Tylenol, Advil, and all other supposive pain killers, he can more than likely let you know where you will be able to find the nearest pharmacy or even prescribe the best natural supplement for your sciatica nerve pain. Not all supplements, natural or not are used for the same thing. If you have questions, you should ask your doctor to fully explain this to you carefully of what vitamin you are in need of and maybe even ask what types of exercises you should do for your sciatica nerve pain. If you are still a little confused, check in at your local pharmacy for an explanation on what the differences are between natural and unnatural ways to go about curing your sciatica nerve pain are.

Aside from the oral steroids for sciatica, non-surgical treatments are also widely practiced, like physical therapies and exercises, chiropractic manipulation; cervical traction; activity modification, osteopathic medicine, bracing, medications and injections. Medical professionals who can diagnose above treatments are psychiatrists, family practitioner, osteopathic physician, spine surgeons, neurosurgeons, and neurologists- do not trust the judgment of anyone else. Physical therapists and chiropractors may also administer the non-surgical treatments as mentioned in the first part of this paragraph. The oral steroids for herniated disc should only be given by a healthcare professional, and needs to be accurately assessed before commencing.

For piriformis syndrome, you can do a simple stretch of the piriformis muscle. I recommend you do this by lying on your back, pulling your knee on the painful side toward the same side shoulder for a few seconds, then partially releasing the leg and then pulling your knee toward the opposite shoulder. Hold this stretch for about 10 seconds at a time, then carefully release your leg for a a few seconds before repeating the stretch.

Think positive Sciatica can come and go so don't let it run your life, or what you do. It can be easily getting rid of. And it could also be easily developed again, but never let your sciatica nerve pain be the boss of you because you control what you do. Always think positive about everything you do. Ask your doctor if there are any groups for Sciatica in your area or look it up online, to find support from another person.

Sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower body. Often, the pain extends from the lower back all the way through the back of the thigh and down through the leg. Depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may also extend to the foot or toes.

The second test is to bend your leg to pull the knee toward your chest. Begin by first bringing the knee on the painful side toward the shoulder on the same side. Then release the leg slightly and pull the knee toward the opposite shoulder. If pulling the knee toward the opposite shoulder increases the pain significantly more than pulling it toward the same side shoulder, chance are you have piriformis syndrome. It should be noted that it is possible to have both true sciatica and piriformis syndrome at the same time.

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Want further information on herniated discs, symptoms, treatments and sciatica pain relief? Please visit:
http://www.herniated-disc-advice.com (Visitors receive FREE Ebook on herniated disc exercises)


 
 
     
 
 





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