Sciatic Nerve Treatment Options
Sciatica is the pain arising from the damaged sciatic nerve. The pain can travel and affect one or both legs. Genuine sciatica happens when pain radiates right down the knee.
Sciatic pain is due to compression of the spine. Particularly, it comes from the compressed and inflamed roots of the sciatic nerve. The common cause of this condition is herniated spinal disc where there is damage or rupture of intervertebral discs that act as a cushion between the vertebrae in the spine. Herniated disc may be a result of abrupt twisting, heavy lifting, back injury, and degeneration of discs due to aging. When this happens, the nerves inside are either compressed or irritated, and this brings about the pain sensation along the lower extremities that are innervated by the nerves. Other causes of sciatica are spinal stenosis and bone tumor.
The sciatic nerves deliver information that produces sensation and mobility of the leg. Moreover, it sends back information from the lower extremities to the brain. The sciatic nerve is located in the lower portion of the spinal cord; along the lower back, hips, and buttocks area.
Sciatica is characterized as either continuous or intermittent, sharp, dull, burning, and tingling. It often affects one limb and can go all the way down to the ankles and toes. Other associated manifestations are muscle cramping and pricking sensations in the thigh and extremely sharp pain in the buttocks and the leg. Furthermore, these symptoms may be aggravated with movements such as coughing or bending for these add more pressure to the already damaged sciatic nerves, elevating the discomfort.
One of the initial sciatic nerve treatments is complete rest to give enough time for the inflamed nerve to recover. Another treatment is alternating hot and cold compress on the injured area to reduce pain and swelling. Administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen and muscle relaxants is also recommended. Oral steroids are given to those who do not respond well to anti-inflammatory drugs alone. These steroids provide maximum anti-inflammatory effect. Epidural steroid injection may be recommended to deliver the drug right into the inflamed nerves. Physical therapy and exercises are started once the pain is reduced to a tolerable level.
Recovery period for most people suffering from the condition is three weeks to three months without surgical intervention. Hence, surgery is not usually done. However, if the above treatments remain ineffective for at least three months, then surgery may be an option.The surgical procedure may involve removing the fragments of the damaged disc, creating an opening around the nerve, or both. This aims to reduce the pressure in the surrounding spine.
Sciatica does not require immediate medical intervention. As a matter of fact, it can even heal on its own. However, if there is bladder or bowel dysfunction already, numbness around the genital area, and progressive weakness of the leg, it now becomes an emergent case. These signs all point to Cauda Equina syndrome, which can be more serious. Thus, seek immediate medical help.Sciatic Nerve Treatment Options,
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