“My sciatica hurts.” This very common complaint is often heard from those who suffer from lower back pain, but what exactly are they referring to? Sciatica can be one of the most uncomfortable pains there is, and one of the most common.
It is estimated that between 5% and 10% of patients with low back pain have sciatica pain, while those who will suffer low back pain at some point in their life range from 49% to 70%.
What is commonly called “sciatica” refers to back pain (in the lower back) that radiates down the legs, passing through the hips and buttocks and reaching the heel or foot. Generally, this pain is caused by compression of the lower vertebrae on the sciatic nerve (the longest and widest in the body, which runs from the lower spine to the toes). It should be noted that between every two vertebrae, the nerve roots come out, responsible for sensitivity in the lower limb and for giving mobility to the leg muscles. When these roots are damaged, then sciatica will arise.
The concrete thing is that, regardless of the cause, sciatica occurs when compression of the sciatic nerve occurs. Here are the most common reasons why you may be suffering from this pain:
Sciatica is characterized by a particular symptom which is radiating pain down the legs. It can be disabling and usually begins with an acute phase of very intense pain, but it rarely lasts for a long time. In most cases, depending on the cause, the symptoms improve in a few days. To identify if what you suffer from is sciatica, you can check if the following signs appear:
In principle, a rheumatologist doctor should confirm if you have it through a physical examination, in which he will control your muscle strength and your reflexes. Then you can corroborate it with diagnostic tests such as x-rays, resonances or tomographies, if necessary, depending on the intensity of the pain.
Once sciatica is confirmed, there are various treatments that can be addressed:
When the pain does not stop, then you have to resort to more invasive treatments such as:
Sciatica pain cannot be prevented, but you can take actions that help to maintain a healthy state and, if it occurs, the pain is not so intense and you are better prepared to combat it.
It is recommended that you are not obese or overweight, has a healthy life away from tobacco, do frequent aerobic exercise (not impact) and try to have firm and upright postures when working, sitting and standing.
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