Sciatica is pain that starts in your lower back and shoots down through your legs and sometimes into your feet. It happens when something in your body, maybe a herniated disk or bone spur or tissues compresses nerve roots. Some people experience sharp, intense pain while others get tingling, weakness, and numbness in their legs.
It causes pain and discomfort, but there are many effective treatments for it. Most people with sciatica don’t end up needing surgery and about half get better within 6 weeks with only rest from daily activities and medication.
Common symptoms of sciatica include:
Sciatica usually affects only one side of your lower body but can be in both legs .Often, the pain extends from your lower back all the way through the back of the thigh and down through one of your legs. Depending on where your sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may also extend to your foot or toes.
Risk factors for sciatica include:
Complications: Although most people recover well from sciatica, often without any specific treatment, sciatica can potentially cause permanent nerve damage so seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms:
If your pain doesn’t improve with self-care measures, your doctor might suggest some of the following treatments.
The types of drugs that might be prescribed for sciatica pain include:
Once your acute pain improves, your doctor or a physical therapist can design a rehabilitation program to help you prevent future injuries. This typically includes exercises to correct your posture, strengthen the muscles supporting your back and improve your flexibility.
In some cases, your doctor might recommend injection of a corticosteroid medication into the area around the involved nerve root commonly called as Selective nerve root block .Corticosteroids help reduce pain by suppressing inflammation around the irritated nerve. The effects usually wear off in a few months but can be of good value in some patients .The number of steroid injections you can receive is limited and cannot be given too frequently.
This option is usually reserved for when the compressed nerve causes significant weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, or when you have pain that progressively worsens or doesn’t improve with other therapies. Surgeons can remove the bone spur tissue or the portion of the herniated disk that’s pressing on the pinched nerve.