Sciatica refers to back pain that is caused due to an issue with the sciatic nerve. This is a nerve that runs from the lower back down the back of each leg. When something ends up injuring or placing pressure on the sciatic nerve, it can result in pain in the lower back which spreads to the hips, buttocks, and leg. Around 90% of individuals recover for sciatica without the need for surgery. Most individuals who get sciatica are between the ages of 30 and 50, with women being more likely to develop the issue during pregnancy because of pressure on the sciatic nerve from the developing uterus. Other causes can include a herniated disk and degenerative arthritis of the spine.
First of all, a diagnosis will need to take place. For this, your doctor will question you regarding how the pain started, and precisely where it is located. You might be asked to squat, walk on your toes or heels, or raise your leg without bending the knee. These muscle tests can help your doctor in determining if it is the sciatic nerve that is irritated. Imaging tests such as an MRI might be conducted to check to the location and cause of the irritated nerve.
Your doctor might inject steroids into the spine area inflammation, and this way, medication can be delivered directly to the area around the sciatic nerve. Furthermore, if one’s sciatica is due to a herniated disk and it is still causing severe pain after 4 – 6 weeks, then surgery might be an option. The surgeon will end up removing a portion of the herniated disk in order to relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Around 90% of patients feel relieved from this type of surgery. The two common spinal surgeries for sciatica are the following: Disectomy /micro-disectomy and laminectomy/laminotomy. In disectomy, the surgeon removes all or part of a herniated disc that that is pushing on your sciatic nerve. In laminotomy, either the entire lamina is removed, or only a part of the lamina is removed.
After sciatica pain treatment, you will need to ensure that you avoid driving, lifting, or bending forward for around a month or so. Your doctor might also recommend you physical therapy in order to help with the strengthening of the muscles in the back. Once recovery is complete, there is a high chance that you will be able to return to your normal activities. Furthermore, regular exercise, the maintenance of good posture, and bending at the knees for the lifting of heavy objects can help you avoid back injuries that might lead to sciatica.
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