In this post, Dr Temitope Olayinka advises how to tell if the excruciating back pain you have is due to Sciatica - and when to be thinking of something else.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica refers to a condition caused mostly by compression of the Sciatic nerve.
Compression (or pressure) to the Sciatic nerve results in pain and abnormal sensations such as tingling, or burning and numbness along the distribution of the Sciatic nerve.
Compression to the S
- a slipped disk,
- narrowing of the spinal canal through which it passes,
- or breakdown of the spinal disc.
Symptoms of Sciatica can range from mild to severe and can really be a scary experience for people affected with this condition.
It can also affect men and women of varying ages.
What Sciatica Looks Like
Although Sciatica often presents as lower back pain, not every back pain is S
Other more dangerous conditions can present as back pain - Cord compression, Fracture of the spinal bones, Cancer etc.
Below are ten ways to tell if you have sciatica:
- You have lower back pain starting from the waistline/trouser band.
- The back pain is mostly on just one side of your lower back.
- Pain spreads from your back and down the leg of the affected side - well below the knee.
- It's a type of neuropathic (nerve) pain - it gives a piercing and/or burning sensation.
- You may feel pain deep within the cheek of your buttocks, accompanied by feelings of abnormal sensation on the affected side.
- Mostly you may feel the pain after prolonged sitting.
- When trying to stand, there may be shooting pain from the affected leg and buttock.
- The pain may be worsened by bending forward from your waist
- It may also get worse after twisting the body at the waist.
- The sharp pain comes and goes, although there may be a constant dull ache.
Sciatica may sometimes resolve or settle on its own.
However, it is important to visit your doctor to rule out other more serious conditions and receive treatment for troublesome symptoms.
- The pain is getting worse and affecting your ability to move around.
- If, in addition to altered sensation, there is also weakness - inability to use the foot or leg.
- Where there are problems controlling the bladder or bowels.
Usually pain medications are required to control the pain from Sciatica.
Other things you can do to improve your symptoms include:
- Losing weight if you are overweight,
- Doing gentle stretching exercise, and
- Sleeping on a firm bed.
Tips for Maintaining Good Posture
Would you like to know more?
- Spine-health. (2019). Sciatica. [Accessed 9 Jul. 2019].
- Davis, D. and Vasudevan, A. (2019). Sciatica. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. [Accessed 9 Jul. 2019].
- Emedicine.medscape.com. (2019). Mechanical Low Back Pain: Practice Essentials, Background, Pathophysiology. [Accessed 9 Jul. 2019].
Edited by AskAwayHealth Team
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