Do you wake up with an agonizing pain shooting from the upper thighs to the feet or lower back pain that spreads downwards to the buttock area? You may be suffering from sciatic nerve pain, or sciatica, which can cause painful throbbing sensations in the limbs and the lower back. When the nerves in the lower spine area or the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, intense pain can travel down the leg and is felt mostly in one particular leg and can be intolerable in nature. While a number of people opt for pain medications or even surgery, it is often seen that a number of less invasive procedures work equally as well or even better. Other alternatives like yoga, massage therapy and acupuncture can act like natural muscle relaxers and can help in treating sciatica for good.
Symptoms of sciatica
Before studying the causes of sciatica, it is necessary to learn about the symptoms of sciatica. Around 1-2% of all adults experience a herniated disc at some point in their lives that can lead to sciatic pain. Sciatica is more common in men and generally develops after 30. It can affect anyone despite their levels of activity.
- Strong, sometimes shooting pains in the limbs and lower back — pain can start in the back and work its way down the buttocks and thighs
- Numbness and tingling in the limbs
- Trouble moving or exercising
- Feeling stiff and unable to flex the feet
- Pain when sleeping
- Throbbing and inflammation around the thighs or lower back when sitting or standing for a period of time
The pain can last for around 6 weeks though if untreated, it can cause chronic pain in the limbs. It can disappear and reappear with time. While some people can have the problem be resolved on its own, often, it needs to be treated before it worsens. While some patients respond well to treatments, others people suffering from ‘acute sciatica’ can recover pretty well though they can experience some levels of discomfort 1-2 years after. If not treated appropriately, the nerve damage can be permanent.
Causes of Sciatic Nerve Pain
The main causes of sciatica and sciatic nerve pain are inflammation and herniated discs in the spine, which means that the disc of the spine develops a slight tear or a crack. Herniated discs jut out towards the spinal cord, which implies that it alters the chemical messages sent to the limbs via the nerves. The spinal disc pinches the sciatic nerve and can cause the symptoms by compressing the nerve.
Spinal discs are present between the vertebrae and are called the shock absorbers of the body. They remain elastic so as to absorb the vibrations and pressure on the spine and the varied movements and positions that people put their bodies through. Herniated or slipped discs are caused due to aging and stress on your body and this leads to a lot of pain and strain on the nerves.
While traditionally, it was believed that pinching in the spinal nerves causes sciatica, it has now become known that inflammation can worsen the condition and even be the real source of the sciatic nerve pain in certain cases. If you don’t take care of your body in general, the spinal discs can age quicker causing sciatica.
Natural treatment procedures
There can be multiple types of herniated or ruptured discs. While prolapse discs are less severe since the outermost layer is still intact, sequestrian or extrusion disc bulges can be more drastic and painful. A number of natural treatment procedures exist for sciatica, including-
1. Chiropractor Spine Adjustment
After your diagnosis, a chiropractor can help to realign the discs in your spine and prevent spinal protrusion into the spinal cavity and can target the root cause of pain and give you lasting results and even freedom from pain.
2. Yoga and Stretching
While compression movements can aggravate sciatic pain, however, in some cases it can actually help to relieve the pain. Sitting or standing for a long time in a spot can trigger the pain. With the stretching and extending of the body, the discs can build strength and relax the stiff areas. Moreover, it can help to strengthen the core and reduce and prevent pain episodes from recurring.
3. Acupuncture and Massage Therapy
Acupuncture can help to relieve sciatica. Massage therapy, similarly can help to relax the muscles ad tissues and fight pain in the back.
4. Heating Pads
Using heating pads can help to loosen up the muscles in your lower back and can help to reduce sciatica related pain.
With these natural tips to help you control sciatic nerve pain, you can lead a healthier and happier life. Since treatments depend on specific problems, if you suspect you are exhibiting the symptoms of sciatica, it is a good idea to visit a doctor as early as possible.