Sciatica is a type of debilitating back pain caused by a pinched sciatic nerve. The pain travels along the nerve, which extends from your lower back, down one side of your hips and buttocks, along your leg toward your foot. In most cases, sciatica symptoms appear only on one side of your body. Lower back pain strikes 85 percent of Americans. In addition to sciatica, common causes of lower back pain include:
Understanding why your back hurts and administering the most effective treatment is the mission of the top spine specialists from Premier Brain & Spine. Untreated, even minor back pain can develop further complications. Sciatica infringes on your ability to move freely and becomes increasingly more painful without the proper diagnosis and treatment. Visit the spine center in Hackensack, Paterson, Edison, Union, Rutherford, Freehold, Bayonne, West Orange, or West Caldwell, New Jersey or in Goshen, New York to talk with the spine experts.
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body. It stems from the nerve roots near the bottom of your spine. It’s also the main nerve in your leg. When you develop symptoms of sciatica, it’s usually because somewhere along the nerve path, usually in your lower back, the sciatic nerve becomes pinched. This builds pressure inside the nerve, resulting in pain.
Most sciatica sufferers develop the condition because of another, underlying problem that’s causing the sciatic pain. Your NJ spine doctor uncovers the condition causing the pinched nerve before deciding on the best treatment approach for you. Conditions that can lead to sciatic pain include:
Most people between the ages of 30 and 50 develop sciatica due to the constant wear and tear that happens as you age. This often results from a condition called osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis. You may also feel pain because of a sudden pressure build-up on the spinal discs that act as cushions between the vertebrae bones in your lower back.
Arthritis or overgrowth of bone on the vertebrae, called bone spurs, are usually the main cause of sciatica for people over the age of 50. Besides age, your lifestyle may also put you at risk of getting sciatica. Risks of developing a pinched nerve in your lower back include:
The direct motor function of your hips and hamstrings and the indirect motor function of your calf muscles, lower leg muscles and some foot muscles are all governed by the sciatic nerve. When you find that your leg goes to sleep often, it may be one of the signs that you have sciatica.A pins and needles sensation, along with numbness, usually means that you either have or are developing a compressed nerve.
Most sufferers complain of varying degrees of pain. You may experience the pain more sharply in the buttocks, leg and foot than in your lower back. Common descriptions of the pain range from dull and aching pain to shooting, electric shock or a burning sensation. Your spine specialist pinpoints exactly where the sciatic nerve has developed problems through symptoms such as:
Almost 90 percent of sciatica sufferers find relief using non-surgical treatments. Try taking over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or aspirin, along with a muscle relaxant. You may also see results with a hot or cold compress on the pain area.
Contrary to popular belief, bed rest is the last thing you need. Your NJ orthopedics expert instead recommends that you keep moving to reduce inflammation and keep a healthy blood circulation in your legs as you resolve the pinched nerve. Your back specialist at the spine and neuro center typically recommends non-invasive treatments first, such as:
If you don’t make some lifestyle changes, the chances of sciatica returning is high. Your spine care center team recommends reducing the weight you’re carrying and keeping tabs on your food intake. Prevent a recurrence by maintaining proper posture when standing, lifting and sitting, even when driving. When sitting, use a rolled towel or a pillow to support your lower back, keeping your hips and knees level.
Exercise regularly and do more stretching to keep your spine and leg muscles nimble. If you’re a smoker, quit, as smoke clogs your blood vessels. Consulting with a top-notch NJ ortho spine specialist at the first sign of a backache can help you avoid surgery. Contact Premier Brain & Spine today to book an appointment.