Back pain is a common, yet disruptive form of chronic pain. However, not all back pain is the same. Some forms are easily identifiable and treatable based on their symptoms or triggers.
Although it can be intensely painful, sciatica is one of the most recognizable forms of back pain. Thankfully, it usually clears up within a few weeks.
Read on to learn more about sciatica pain, the symptoms, causes, and treatment options.
Pain that follows along the pathway from your lower back and into your buttocks and legs is the signature sign of sciatica.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica may refer to the pain, tingling, or numbness that radiates down the sciatic nerve. This nerve branches out along the lower back, buttocks, and hips and runs down the back of each leg. It is the largest nerve in the body.
The most common symptom associated with sciatica is pain that radiates from the low back through the back of the leg. Discomfort can be felt anywhere along the sciatic nerve, but usually follows along the nerve pathway. Oftentimes, the pain is one-sided.
Sciatica pain can range from mild to burning to excruciating. The type of pain depends on the location and severity of the nerve irritation.
Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica is the result of irritation or compression of the nerve roots in the lower spine. This may be caused by an injury, ruptured disc, lumbar spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, pregnancy, or muscle spasms. The following conditions may increase your risk or worsen your symptoms of sciatica:
- Being overweight
- Lack of exercise
- Wearing high heels
- Sleeping on a hard mattress
- Regular job duties that involve driving long distances, carrying heavy loads, or twisting your back
Non-Surgical Sciatica Treatments
When treating sciatica, most physicians recommend a conservative line of treatment for sciatica.
Sciatica can often be managed with a little self-care at home. While long periods of bed rest are not often recommended, for a severe flare-up, resting for short periods may help relieve intense pain. In addition, you may use a heating pad, ice pack, or over-the-counter medication as part of your pain management regimen.
Exercises for Sciatica Pain
Excess abdominal fat can press on your spine increasing the risk of a herniated disc and put pressure on your sciatic nerve. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a proper diet and exercise regimen can help reduce fat, strengthen your core, and improve your spinal flexibility.
If you have sciatica, you can also try physical therapy or the following exercises or stretches to alleviate your pain.
- Pigeon pose
- Knee to the opposite shoulder
- Sitting spinal stretch
- Standing hamstring stretch
In many cases, pain related to the sciatic nerve subsides on its own. However, if your pain does not diminish, consult your physician. Medical interventions may be necessary.
Platelet rich plasma is an alternative to more invasive treatments for back pain. It has been noted as a promising treatment for nerve injuries. Platelet rich plasma can reduce inflammation and pain associated with disc injuries and sciatica.
Sciatica Treatment in Charlotte
To learn more about sciatica treatment in Charlotte, NC, schedule an appointment with Stem Cell Carolina. We offer innovative regenerative medicine treatments to help improve your mobility and relieve your pain.