Argala Home Health Blog

DO I HAVE SCIATICA?

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Wondering whether you have Sciatica? Worry not, lets get to know about it.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica can be described as nerve pain through the back of your leg from your low back to foot or from your buttock to the foot because of irritation of a nerve which is called as The Sciatic Nerve. Patient may also feel tingling, pins & needles or numbness along with pain. Sciatica is a SYMPTOM AND NOT A DISEASE or DIAGNOSIS.

What is the Sciatic Nerve?

Sciatic nerve is the longest and thickest nerve in your body originating from the low-back. Though it is named a single nerve, it is a group of nerves that arise from your spinal cord. It runs along the back of your thigh, divides into two branches at your knee level and ends up into your foot.

Symptoms:

·      Radiating pain (pain intensity may vary from mild to severe)

·      Paresthesia (altered sensation)

·      Muscle weakness

·      Numbness

What causes Sciatica?

Sciatica can be caused by multiple reasons, few of the reasons might be

·      Degenerative disc disease

·      Spinal stenosis

·      Foraminal stenosis

·      Spondylolisthesis

·      Injuries

·      Tumors

·      Cysts

·      Cauda equina syndrome

·      Having insufficient core strength

What are the risk factors for developing Sciatica?

·      Standing/sitting for long periods of time as a part of occupation

·      Sedentary lifestyle

·      Diabetes

·      Smoking

·      Improper posture or posture abnormalities

·      Obesity

·      Weak core muscles

How is it diagnosed?

A qualified doctor can help you diagnose if you have Sciatic nerve impingement through physical examination and diagnostic imaging such as X-Ray and MRI. Diagnostic imaging plays an important role to diagnose the reason for which you are getting pain.

Physical examination includes:  diagnostic special tests, assessment of range of motion, strength and flexibility.

Is it treatable?

Yes, your SYMPTOMS are treatable, most patients recover fully. A possible complication in untreated long-term cases is severe pain and foot drop.

Treatment includes:

·      Medications

·      Physiotherapy ( electrotherapy and exercise therapy)

·      Alternative therapies

·      In severe cases – surgery 

How long should I rest?

If your pain started very recently i.e. before 2 or 3 days, rest may help in relieving pain. In any other case there may be chances of increase in intensity because of rest.

Will physiotherapy help me ?

Physiotherapy plays an important role in managing your symptoms and live a pain-free life. Treatment includes exercise therapy to strengthen your muscles, electrotherapy modalities to reduce the intensity of pain. Treatment plan depends on assessment of the patient and is customized accordingly. goals of rehabilitation can be divided into short-term goals are focused on reduction in pain intensity and increase mobility, long-term goals are focused on muscle strength and prevent recurrence of symptoms.

Role of Aqua therapy:

Aqua therapy or hydrotherapy plays an important role in treating sciatica with spinal instability or core muscle imbalance. When inside the water, the amount of stress on the joints is reduced thereby causing less pain and the amount of resistance to the movement increases which helps in strengthening the muscles.

How to prevent Sciatica?

·      Maintaining good posture – your physiotherapist will be able to help you with exercises to improve your posture and tips to maintain proper and comfortable posture.

·      Management of obesity & diabetes- your primary physician (if present) may come up with management plan which may include medication (if needed), nutrition management and

·       Staying active- lifestyle modifications play a major role in preventing sciatica or its precursors.

 

 

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