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One of the longest nerves in the human body is the sciatic nerves which originates at the back of the pelvis, runs through the buttocks, and extends to legs, feet, and toes.
Sciatica is a term used to describe pains in the lower back, hip and leg regions. This pain is caused by irritated, pinched or compressed sciatic nerve. Symptoms include numbness, weakness, or tingling of the legs, difficulty in moving the foot or leg, shooting pain that makes standing difficult. Some individuals have described the associated pain as intolerable and similar to a toothache on the nerves.
It is important to note that sciatica is not a medical diagnosis in itself but rather an indication of an underlying medical issue. Before proceeding to explain some of the relief measures for sciatica, it is expedient we understand possibly causes.
As earlier stated sciatica is caused by a compressed sciatic nerve and is not a medical diagnosis. The root causes include (but is not limited to):
- Spinal stenosis
- Lumbar herniated or slipped disc
- Degenerative disc disease
- Piriformis syndrome
- Joint dis-function
Out of the six most common root causes listed above, herniated disc is the most common. In this case, a disk may crack and press the spinal cord, thus pinching the sciatic nerve. Additionally, other conditions such as pregnancy, infection, spinal tumor, scar tissue, and muscle strain can cause sciatica.
The intuitive idea is that since sciatica impedes movement, a bed rest will be an appropriate relief. However, specific exercise tailored around the root cause of the problem is better than bed rest. This is because exercise conditions the back muscles to support the back. It also facilitates the transfer of fluids and nutrients within the disc, thereby relieving the pressure on the sciatic nerve. Although it is advisable for patients of sciatica to rest a day or two after intense attacks, inactivity will make the pain worse as opposed to aiding recovery. Click here for more information on Soulager la sciatique
Exercises that can help relieve sciatica include:
- Knee-to-chest stretch
- Back Extension
- Gluteal stretch
- Standing hamstring stretch
- General aerobic exercises such as walking
Heat or Ice
Although this option will does not have any effect on the inflammation caused by sciatica, since the nerve is buried deep within the body, heat from hot compression packs or ice can act as anti-irritants, thus relieving pain.
Sciatica is may be associated with excruciating pain. Although there are debates as to whether painkillers can relieve the pain caused by pressure on the nerve, most doctors recommend over-the-counter painkillers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, as well as muscle relaxants.
Herbal medication, specifically devil’s claw is an effective anti-inflammatory that works like ibuprofen and helps in inhibiting substances that promote inflammation. There are several products that contain its extract. However, it should be avoided by individuals with peptic ulcer. Find our more information here about Sciatique
Sciatica can be very painful. It is however recommended that a professional is consulted before treatment or relief exercise commences. The best course of action is to adopt relief measures based on expert advice.
All the options discussed above can be performed indoors with little or no assistance. Other relief steps may include practicing yoga, going for specific massage, spinal manipulation (chiropractic care), and ultimately surgery.
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