Sciatica – symptoms, causes, diagnosis and therapy

Sciatica is characterized by pain in the lower back, which descends through the hip to the back of the leg, and in some cases affects the foot and toes. It usually occurs only on one side.

The intensity of the pain varies. Most people recover without specific therapy.

Sciatica, also known as lumbosciatica, is a neuralgia that is primarily characterized by pain in the area of the body that is innervated by n. ischiadicus.
N. ischiadicus is the largest nerve in the human body, starting at the lower back and sending nerve branches to the lower leg and foot.

The main symptom is sharp, burning pain accompanied by a feeling of tingling, weakness, numbness and numbness. In most cases it occurs unilaterally, ie it descends from the waist along the length of one leg.

Certain postures can affect the intensity of the pain, so the pain usually increases when standing, walking, kneeling or bending at the waist, while in the supine position, the pain is partially reduced or completely disappears.

REASONS FOR THE Occurrence of Sciatica
There are several reasons for this type of neuralgia. Most often it is about:

-Piriformis syndrome. The piriformis muscle is located deep in the gluteal region (buttocks) and is located just above n. ischiadicus. If this muscle spasms, it can put pressure on the nerve, causing the symptoms of sciatica to appear. The most common causes of spasm of this muscle are long periods of sitting during the day and reduced physical activity. However, it can also occur when performing certain physical activities such as running or cycling, if the exercises for stretching and strengthening the muscles are not practiced before performing the activity.
-Herniated intervertebral disc in the lumbar region. The inner central part of the disc can herniate and put pressure on the nerve, causing pain.
-Degenerative disease of the intervertebral disc in the lumbar region. Disc degeneration is a normal process in aging, but in some people this process in the lumbar region can irritate the n. ischiadicus and pain may occur.
-Infections, injury or tumor.
-Pregnancy. Changes that the body goes through during pregnancy such as weight gain, fetal pressure and hormonal changes, can lead to sciatica.
-Spondylolisthesis. Due to a small stress fracture, the vertebral body dislocates forward, which compresses the nerve.
Sciatica can also occur secondarily, as a result of a primary disease such as diabetes.

For the diagnosis of sciatica, it is necessary to take a good medical history and make a detailed physical examination.

In order to determine the cause of sciatica, in some cases additional tests such as electromyograms, X-rays, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging are needed.

There are several treatment options depending on the cause that led to the symptoms as well as their intensity.

It is usually recommended:
-Laying cold or hot compresses. Apply a cold or warm compress to the affected area and leave on for about 20 minutes. Repeat the procedure for about 2 hours. People suffering from sciatica most often use cold compresses, although in some of them hot compresses achieve better results in dealing with pain. So experiment and see which type of coating will help you the most.
-Medications. Analgesics are commonly used to relieve pain, muscle relaxants, etc. In severe cases, corticosteroid therapy is used.
-Physical activity. Physical activity is important in this disease, but depending on the health condition and the severity of the disease, certain exercises are not recommended. Therefore, consult your doctor and follow the recommendations. It is important to note that physical activity is not recommended while you are in severe pain. Once the pain is gone, light physical activity is advised.
-Surgical treatment. In some cases, the only treatment option is surgery, which fortunately is not needed in most patients.

Related Post