While it sounds scary, sciatica is far more common than you might initially think. Over 60% of UK residents report back pain and sciatica is one of the most common causes of chronic back pain. This condition involves the compression of the sciatica nerve, which is the longest nerve in your body. This nerve runs from the back of your pelvis, through your buttocks, and all the way to your feet. If this nerve is disturbed by, say, a slipped disc or becomes irritated, you’ll develop sciatica pain in your lower back.
Sometimes, sciatica pain goes away on its own after a few weeks. But that’s not always the case. Sciatica can last for years in many cases.
How Do You Know It’s Sciatica?
Sciatica pain is often sharp. You may experience tingling or numbness in your lower back or legs. This pain is often recurring. This pain often radiates in the buttocks or the legs. You might experience muscle weakness in one of your legs if the sciatica nerve in your leg is disturbed.
What’s Causing Sciatica?
Sciatica is caused by a whole manner of things. One of the most common causes is a slipped disc in your back. The slipped disc can irritate your sciatica nerve. Spinal injuries or infections can cause sciatica too. You might even develop sciatica from a condition known as spinal stenosis where your nerves narrow in the spine. One of the most concerning causes, however, can be when you develop a tumour in the spine.
The pain may be bothersome but it likely isn’t stopping you from living a normal life. People with sciatica often go months before they even see a GP or a chiropractor in relation to their pain. But that pain is always there. And it can be very, very irritating for the sciatica sufferer to go about their day always feeling strained, numb, or tingly.
But you should always be mindful of the amount of pain you’re experiencing. If the pain gets worse over time or simply won’t go away after a period of several months, you need to take action.
For instance, if you lose feeling in your legs or lower back, you’ve developed a very, very serious condition and need immediate medical attention. This is called cauda equine syndrome and while rare, symptoms are very, very similar to sciatica. The key is being mindful of your symptoms and taking careful measures to address them before you experience worsening pain or it begins to interrupt or impair your daily function.
What to Do
Most of the time, sciatica goes away on its own. If you see a GP, your GP may simply recommend a new exercise routine, pain medication, and anti-inflammatory injections in your spine.
You can help minimize the risk of developing sciatica in the first place by practicing proper posture and getting regular exercise. But that doesn’t always stop sciatica developing when you’ve been injured or experience something like spinal stenosis. A healthy lifestyle can help curb the development of sciatica but it isn’t the only thing that can keep sciatica at bay.
Considered about sciatica development? Pay your local chiropractor a visit. Fulham Chiropractic is here to help people suffering with sciatica. An adjustment might be just what you need to keep sciatica at bay.
Sciatica is common and normal. But that doesn’t mean you need to settle for living with extensive pain for months on end. Your chiropractor or GP can help you put a stop to sciatica.