Pain that radiates from your lower back, through your buttocks, and down the back of your leg is the telltale symptom of sciatica. Although the sciatic nerve runs through both of your legs it is typical to feel the pain primarily in only one of your them. People may experience varying ranges of pain from a mild ache to an excruciating, sharp, stabbing pain. Some individuals with sciatica experience tingling, numbness, or weakness in the affected leg. It is also not uncommon to experience pain in one part of your leg and numbness in a different part.
Sciatica occurs when your sciatic nerve is pinched, typically by a bone spur (overgrowth of bone) on your vertebrae or by a herniated disc in your spine. It's rare, but the sciatic nerve can also become compressed by a tumor or become damaged by a condition, such as diabetes.
According to the Mayo Clinic the following factors can put you at increased risk for developing sciatica:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Being obese
- Having diabetes
- Lifting heavy objects
- Twisting your back
- Driving for long periods of time
For most people, sciatica resolves with the following self-care treatments:
You may feel some relief from putting an ice pack or package of frozen peas on the painful area for up to 20 minutes several times each day. Be sure to wrap the ice pack or bag of frozen peas with a towel; never place the frozen object onto your skin directly.
After using ice for two or three days, switch to placing a heating pad on the painful area. Use the lowest setting on the heating pad. If pain persists, try alternating heat and cold compresses.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen may also be helpful in relieving sciatica pain.
Stretching exercises for your lower back may also be helpful. Try to hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds, and avoid twisting or jerking during the stretch.
When to Seek Medical Help
If your pain persists despite self-care at home, you should consider making an appointment with a chiropractor. They can help develop a treatment plan that's right for relieving your specific sciatica symptoms. This plan may include spinal decompression, corrective exercises you can do at home, and lifestyle adjustments.
If you're experiencing sciatica and are ready to find relief, get in touch with the specialists at Spinal Dynamics today by calling 208 888 0055 or filling out our contact form.