Do you feel mild to severe pain, tingling or numbness in the lower back, buttocks and down to your legs? Don’t worry, it is estimated that 40% of all people experience sciatic nerve pain. However, if the aforementioned symptoms are felt often, you may need to have a physical exam to get diagnosed.
What is Sciatic Pain?
The pain can feel like a sudden jolt of electricty electricity running down your leg. You feel numbness ans tingling in the lower back, buttocks down to the ankles. Other symptoms of sciatica include:
- Pain anywhere on the sciatic nerve pathway.
- Pain can be sometimes mild, sometimes severe and sometimes sudden, like a jolt.
- Sneezing causes pain.
- Extremities become weak, especially the legs.
What causes the pain?
Sciatic nerve pain can be caused by any irritation to the sciatic nerve, like the following:
– Bulging or ruptjres disc (herniatedndisc)
– Spinal stenosis
– Bone spurs caused by arthritis
– Pinched nerve
Not exercising regularly can cause sciatica, as well as wearing high heels, obesity and sleeping on overly soft mattress. There are studies that associate emotional distress with sciatica. When we are distressed, our muscles tighten and we could not care less about our posture. Bad posture and tight muscles can irritate the sciatic nerve and end up as sciatica.
How do we deal with it?
The discomforting effects of sciatic nerve pain can be managed. The pain can be alleviated by following simple reminders. Apparently, the pain goes away after a while, but the discomfort can make doing regular tasks at work or at home difficult. Try following these reminders:
- Avoid sitting down for a long period of time. If your job requires you to remain seated, make use of free time to stand and walk around.
- Go for short walks when you can.
- In cases of pain, take ibuprofen or non-steriodal anti-inflammatoy like naproxen or advil. Follow the label, always.
- Better yet,when the pain isn’t severe, use a warm compress or take a warm shower instead of grabbing the nearest medicine bottle.
What exercises prevent and alleviate sciatic pain?
Exercise can prevent sciatic pain. It can also reduce the pain we suffer from. Try these exercises, following the instructions carefully.
*Loosen your gluteal and piriformis muscles through this exercise.
- Lie on your back on a flat surface. Extendyour legs outward and your feet flexed upward.
- Lift your right leg up, bend by the knees and clasp your hands around your knee. Gently pull your right leg across your body toward your left shoulder. Hold it there for 30 seconds.
- Go back tostarting position and repeat three times.
- Do the same for your left leg and right shoulder. Repeat three times.
Through this stretching exercise, you will loosen the gluteal and piriformis and prevent sciatica. Remember, when pulling your legs towards your shoulder, you should not over do it. You are supposed to feel the stretch pleasantly, not painfully.
When exercises of any kind are not done properly, you will end up hurting yourself. There are exercises that can cause trauma on the lower back or any part of the sciatic nerve pathway that will end up in pain.
In a nutshell
People who experience even mildly, the symptoms we have discussed above for more than one month should see a doctor or physical therapist as soon as they can.
After submitting to a physical exam, the cause of your sciatica will be figured out and the proper treatment to combat the cause can be prescribed. Prevention is always better than cure. Self medicating will only make your sciatic nerve pain worse.