What is Sciatica and Symptoms: Sciatica is characterized by pain, tingling and numbness around the lower back and legs, sometimes extending down to the feet.
Sciatica can be extremely painful and debilitating, making it difficult to work or perform everyday tasks.
Symptoms of Sciatica often last between two and eight weeks, although some people continue to experience symptoms for up to a year.
You can reduce the severity and duration of symptoms by following the steps below.
Visiting a doctor is important to ensure the correct diagnosis, as other types of back pain may need to be treated in a different way.
Poor posture, injury and emotional stress are among the most common causes of sciatica, but, occasionally, it can be the result of a more serious medical condition that needs urgent treatment.
Therefore, it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible, as they will be able to give you an accurate diagnosis and check for any underlying medical causes.
Topical creams, gels and other preparations designed for treating back pain can be useful in the treatment of sciatica, as they help to reduce muscle spasms and nerve pain. Hot or cold compresses may also be useful, but they can make the pain worse for some people, so it’s important to pay attention to how your body responds.
Over-the-counter pain relief can help to relieve mild to moderate pain, but prescription painkillers may be needed for more severe pain. Your doctor may suggest other medications, such as muscle relaxants, antidepressants and even epilepsy medication, to help relieve symptoms. Spinal injections may also be offered for persistent pain.
Short-term bed rest can help with acute symptoms, but it’s important to resume your daily activities as soon possible, as research has shown that inactivity lengthens the duration of sciatica symptoms. Gentle stretching exercises, walking and other mild activities can help to prevent further problems and will keep your spine flexible.
Physiotherapy can be beneficial for many people, particularly when sciatica is the result of postural problems. Physiotherapy can increase flexibility of the spine and strengthen the muscles in your back, which helps to prevent further sciatica attacks. Physiotherapy may also be needed after long periods of bed rest, as your muscles will be weak and more prone to injury.
By following these simple steps, most people will see a reduction in their symptoms within a week or two, although it can take several weeks to recover completely. If symptoms don’t improve within eight weeks, see your doctor, as you may need surgery.