Throughout your life, you’ll likely experience some form of back pain at one point or another. Whether it’s caused by exercise, injury, or old age, it can appear mysteriously and disappear just as quickly. Often, our back pain is short-lived (acute) or long-lasting (chronic). It’s occasionally difficult to pinpoint the cause of our back pain. But then there is Sciatica. It is one of the easiest forms of back pain to diagnose and treat. A quick visit to your doctor is enough to put you on the path to recovery.
Sciatica begins with a herniated disk within the lumbar region of the spine – the lowest part. Your vertebrae are separated by flat, flexible disks of connective tissue. Once the disk is worn down, due to injury or age, it pushes out. This movement is known as a herniated disk. It is what causes your back pain in sciatica. The nerves around the spine are pressured by the movement. More specifically, the sciatic nerve – the longest nerve in the body – is pressured.
Since sciatica is a relatively common type of back pain, the associated symptoms are often quite common, too. These include:
- Lower back pain
- Pain in the buttocks or leg that worsens while sitting
- Hip pain
- Burning or tingling feeling in the legs
- Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the legs or feet
- A constant pain along one side of the buttocks
- A sharp, shooting pain down the leg as you stand up or sit down
Typically, sciatica only affects one side of the lower body. The pain extends down the lower back, through the thigh, and down one of the legs. Depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may ultimately reach the foot or toes on the same leg, too.
Sciatica Treatment Options
The treatment options available for sciatica are relatively straightforward. There are oral medications, including:
- Over-the-counter pain medication, including acetaminophen, aspirin, or NSAIDS.
- Prescription muscle relaxers to calm muscle spasms.
It’s important to note that children under the age of 18 should not be given aspirin due to the increased risk of Reye’s syndrome.
But the reality is that medication can only help so much. You’ll find true relief from the pain and discomfort of sciatica through chiropractic procedures, spinal decompression, and laser treatment options. These treatment plans are non-invasive and non-surgical, making them ideal for busy patients who want full mobility during their treatment plan.
Lastly, if oral medications do not suffice, there is physical therapy. The pain from sciatica can make it difficult to remain active and exercise. However, too much bed rest or relaxation is even worse for sciatica pain and discomfort. Through proper exercise, the pain caused by sciatica can ease over time. There are also conditioning methods designed to prevent sciatica pain from returning.
Your best choice, and often the only sound option, are non-invasive methods. The advancements made to spinal decompression and laser treatment are astounding.
If you suffer from intense back pain caused by sciatica, contact Bay Area Disc Centers to begin treatment today. Give us a call at 408-866-0300.