A Short Guide To Sciatica And Living With It

Woman holding back du e to pain from Sciatica

Sciatica is a spinal/nerve condition that results from the sciatic nerve being compressed or irritated, often by spinal problems such as a herniated disc. Typically relegated to a single side of the body, this condition presents as pain that reaches down the leg from the hip and back. The pain resulting from this condition can be quite severe, though it can often be resolved with non-surgical treatments in only a few weeks.

Changes in bladder and bowels or weakness in the legs are signs of severe sciatica

How To Identify If You’re Experiencing Sciatica Related Symptoms

Sciatica is a fairly common condition, and the nature of today’s largely sedentary work environment has led to a rise in its prominence. Sitting for long periods not only tends to aggravate the symptoms associated with sciatica, but improper sitting can actually create the right conditions for it to occur, to begin with.

  • Radiating Pain – The most common symptom of sciatica is pain that radiates through the leg and foot from the hip and buttocks. This pain can be sharp or burning, excruciating, or mild. Some patients report it feeling like an electric shock.

  • Pain when Sneezing – Sometimes, the pain will occur from a sudden jolt, like sneezing.

  • Numbing/Tingling – Numbness and tingling are also common symptoms resulting from the nerve being impacted. It’s possible for pain and numbness to exist in the same leg.

  • Muscular Weakness – The muscles affected can become weak, making it difficult to stand or use the leg in question.

  • Bowel or Bladder Changes – In severe cases, the function of the bladder and bowels can begin to become affected.

In addition to the work conditions mentioned earlier, it’s common for sciatica to occur as the result of a violent injury. Falls, sports, and car accidents are common instigating events. In these cases, the experience is usually temporary, but it can begin to grow gradually worse instead. If this resembles your experience, then you should schedule an appointment to speak to your physician. This condition is typically treatable and takes only a few weeks to resolve.

Mild cases of sciatica are able to be treated and reversed if caught in time

How Can I Prevent Sciatica?

Thankfully preventing sciatica from causes other than accidents is fairly easy to manage. It starts with getting regular exercise that will keep your back strong. It often helps to spend a little extra time working on your core. Proper posture is another important consideration, with a rolled-up towel or pillow placed at the small of your back providing significant help. It’s also important that your knees and hips remain level with each other. Finally, avoid standing for long periods of time. If you must remain standing for extended periods, raise one foot on a stool or raised box. Be sure to lift heavy loads with a partner, and use your back and knees while lifting. All of these can go a long way to preventing lasting damage and the occurrence of sciatica.

Dr. Todd A. Bromberg, M.D. When chronic pain and spinal issues impact your quality of life, you need a team of crack spine and pain specialists at your disposal. Delaware Valley Pain & Spine Institute works with some of the most respected experts in the field to bring pain relief and restored quality of life to patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey!
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