Sciatica is one of the common health problems and what most of us are aware of!
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is normally considered as the lower back pain which downward radiates into the right or left buttock region and travels to the foot. Other associated symptoms of sciatica pain can be tingling, weakness and tingling in your leg. The condition is medically known as ‘lumbar radiculopathy’.
Throughout my life, I’ve seen my mother complaining about sciatic pain to the extent that she was unable to perform her routine tasks. Finally, we took her to a renowned physiotherapist in Karachi who treated her for the problem.
Causes of Sciatic Pain
Some of the common causes of sciatic pain are
- Pinching of the sciatic nerve
- Overgrowth of vertebrae bone (bone spur)
- Herniated disc
- Tumour compressing the nerve
- Disease conditions such as diabetes
Risk factors for sciatic pain
Sciatic pain is a common disorder among people of different ages. However, there are certain risk factors that make some people more prone to the problem than others, including;
- Age- age is an important risk factor for sciatic pain because of the age-related problems with spine health (such as bone spur)
- Obesity- If you are overweight you are more likely to suffer from sciatic pain as the excess body weight can affect your spine health to a greater extent.
- Sitting- If you tend to sit for longer periods of time, there are chances that you can develop sciatic pain.
- Diabetes- the conditions like diabetes can alter your body’s sugar utilization mechanism. This alteration can lead to nerve damage resulting in sciatic pain.
- Occupation- If you work in a profession in which you have to lift heavy weight or your spine gets twisted or tilted, it can cause sciatic pain too.
Effective therapies for Sciatic Pain
Some of the therapies are known to be effective against sciatica problem including;
1- Workout can be a good option to relieve sciatic pain
Well, it is generally perceived that rest is the best solution for pain and aches. Contrary to the popular belief, exercise is a good way to relieve sciatica pain in the leg and back. You can start with a gentle workout routine. There are many physical activities which you can start such as walking around the block.
Physical activity keeps your spine stronger as well as increases the release of a hormone known as endorphins, which reduce the sensation of pain.
2- Stretch out
Another excellent way of improving sciatica symptoms and relieving pain is by stretching out. Stretching can increase spinal flexibility as well as it can help to build the core and spinal strength. You can even try stretching at home to relieve the sciatic pain.
3- Work on your posture
An important cause of sciatica pain is our posture. Keeping your body in the wrong posture for too long can often spike up sciatica pain. Therefore, it is advisable to switch your posture every 20 minutes to prevent sciatica symptoms as this practice can take off pressure from the spine.
4- Head to over-the-counter medicine
There are many NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that can help to relieve sciatica symptoms and can make the patient’s life easier. These medicines not only reduce the pain but also help to counter the inflammation which can relieve disease symptoms better.
5- Try heating and cooling pad
Alternative heating and cooling is an effective way to relieve sciatica symptoms. This is a scientifically proven method of relieving pain and inflammation. Cooling can help to reduce the inflammation followed by heating which regulates the blood flow in the affected region. You can place an icepack on the affected area for 15 minutes every hour and then apply heat every 2 to 3 hours.
When my mother was getting treated for sciatic pain at Nehal hospital Karachi, we were simultaneously practising heating and cooling therapy to relieve her pain too.
6- Try lumbar braces
You can also wear lumbar braces on your lower back region to support lumbar region tissue. These braces can limit spinal movements, reducing spinal pain. Wearing the braces can help to relieve sciatic pain.
Sciatica pain is a common health problem and it can affect the daily life functioning of a person to a greater magnitude. You can try all the above remedies to relieve sciatica pain. However, if your symptoms persist and you don’t feel any improvement in your condition you immediately need to see a doctor.