sciatic nerve injury recovery - Information on Sciatica and Causes
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Information on Sciatica and Causes

The term sciatica describes the symptoms of leg pain and possibly tingling, numbness or weakness that travels from the low back through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of the leg. The vast majority of people who experience sciatica get better with time (usually a few weeks or months) and find pain relief with non-surgical sciatica treatment. For others, however, sciatica can be severe and debilitating.


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Sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower body. Often, the pain extends from the lower back all the way through the back of the thigh and down through the leg. Depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may also extend to the foot or toes.

Sciatica is pain that starts in the back and radiates down one of the legs. It is quite a common complaint and is sciatica is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve which runs down into the leg. The medical term is acute nerve root compression. The cause of pressure can be varied from a Slipped (Prolapsed) disk to muscle tension (Piriformis syndrome) or something less common such as a tumors, bony growths and infections.

Exercise plays a leading role in treating sciatica. There are many sciatica exercises. These exercises are one the best ways of treating sciatica. They specifically target the muscles in lower back, thighs and abdomen area. Though doctors advise bed rest in case of acute sciatica pain, the muscles are still weak and this again brings back pain if physically demanding activities are performed.

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This article is not meant to replace the advice of your personal health care provider. Be sure to consult with your physician to explore all your back pain treatment options before taking any medical course of action.

Almost all these treatments are accompanied or followed by physical therapy, under a physician's supervision or on his prescribed course. This kind of physical therapy concentrates on building the muscles around the sciatica nerve roots so as to strengthen the lower back.

Tip 1: Posture, Posture, Posture: Maintaining a good posture while standing and sitting go a long way to avoid damage to the spine. Also one should avoid sitting or standing for very long periods.

Microdiscectomy Alternative A newer, less invasive form of discectomy is also now available. This procedure is called a microdiscectomy and uses special magnifying and muscle-spreading instruments to allow the surgeon to view and operate on the herniated disc region. The surgeon can then perform the procedure through a smaller incision and cause less damage to the surrounding muscle and tissue.

Benefits Of Sciatica Exercises These specifically targeted exercise work because they work on the muscles that are crucial for supporting the back and reducing the pressure that affects sciatic nerve. These exercises lead to increased blood circulation. This results in healthy and supple spine and increased supply of oxygen and other vital nutrients to spine.

Tip 3: Exercise Regularly: Regular exercise will not only help you in your general fitness but also in the fitness of your lower back. Abdominal crunches are very helpful in strengthening your lower back. Swimming or Walking can also help with the lower back.

Herniated Discs Here is a simplified explanation of what happens with a ruptured or herniated disc. The disc itself is kind of like a soft jelly-filled donut. The outer wall of the disc is called the annulus fibrosus and the inner part of the disc -- the jelly part -- is called the nucleus pulposus. When the outer part of the disc becomes weakened, it can tear and allow some of the inner nucleus pulposus to leak out. When this inner jelly presses on the surrounding nerve tissue it can weakness, tingling and pain in the back and legs.

Tip 5: Alternative Methods of Treatment: Other than medication and surgery, many patients suffering from sciatica have tried alternative methods of treatment and have claimed great success with them.

Types Of Sciatica Exercises Sciatica exercises are divided into three categories. Though their main purpose is to relieve pain, each category targets a specific aspect of reducing sciatic nerve pressure so that the pain can be reduced. The exercise which stretch the muscles are called stretching exercises. Exercises which stabilize and strengthen muscles are called stabilizing and strengthening exercises. The third category of exercises called general conditioning exercises. These exercises are stretching hamstrings, stretching of lower back, and making the core muscles strong. These exercises specifically target muscles in the torso, abdomen and back. An exercise regimen that combines the exercises from these three categories is very effective in reducing sciatica pain and in preventing it from recurring.

There are alternative forms of sciatica exercises too like Yoga. Yoga has many postures that can be used to provide relief from sciatica pain. All these yogic postures keep the muscles flexible and strengthen them which lead to faster healing.

Many people think of sciatica, symptoms of which include pain down the leg, some numbness and weakness of the limbs as just another case of lower back pain and believe that with sufficient rest, the pain will go away. However, sciatica is a little more serious than that.

Nerves are cord like structure which consist of several nerve fibres. Sciatic nerve is the largest nerve of our body which is also called as Great Nerve. It is around 2 cms in diameter. It arises from nerve (roots) plexus emerging from the sacrum (back part of hip bone). It comes out of the pelvis through greater sciatic foramen (opening) in the hip bone with piriformis muscle which unites hip joint and femur. From there it descends on the backside of the leg, deep into the gluteus muscles (buttock). It gives out branches tibial nerve and common peroneal nerve to supply medial and posterior aspect of leg.

What Happens In A Discectomy? In a traditional discectomy -- often referred to as an open discectomy -- an incision is made in the patient's back over the herniated disc region. Muscle tissue around the herniated disc is removed and a retractor may be used to keep the muscle tissue and skin out of the way which gives the surgeon better access to the surgical area. In some cases, some of the vertebrae bone -- called the lamina -- may need to be removed to allow the surgeon better access to the disc. This procedure is called a laminectomy. Once the herniated disc fragments have been removed, the muscle tissue is put back and the surgical incision is closed with sutures.

Tip 2: Lifting of Heavy Objects: Try to share the load of very heavy objects with others. If you have to lift something by yourself, hold it close to you and then bend your knees, rather than bending your back.

 
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Before reviewing specific sciatica exercises, it is first important to explain what sciatica is, as the term sciatica is often misused and its definition often misunderstood. Sciatica is a set of symptoms rather than a diagnosis in itself (meaning it does not explain the cause of the pain). Sciatica (radiculopathy) is a general term that refers to pain caused by compression or irritation of one or more nerves exiting the lower spine that make up the sciatic nerve, and there are a number of different conditions that can cause this.

There are many ways of treating sciatica but there also many ways of preventing sciatica in the first place. We will look at some of the best ways to prevent and treat Sciatica.

Occasionally, the sciatic nerve roots - which start at the base of the spine and stretch all the way to the feet through the buttock and legs - get compressed or irritated causing pain not only in the lower back but also in the buttocks, thighs, legs, extending even to the feet.

A discectomy is an invasive surgical procedure that removes herniated disc material that is protruding into the spinal canal and pressing upon nerve tissue. This pressure can cause numbness, weakness, tingling, or mild to severe pain in the back and leg.

Very rarely, though, sciatica pain can be extremely severe and debilitating for patients who are recommended surgery. New surgical techniques like microsurgery and percutaneous removals allow patients to undergo these procedures and come out of the hospital much faster than ever before, decreasing the loss of work time.

For example, chiropractic treatment is one such method in which you are offered non-invasive and medication-free therapies, to treat your sciatica. Chiropractic treatments can involve ultrasounds, TENS, spinal adjustments and cold therapies. Other alternative methods of treatment include acupuncture or acupressure, in which fine needles are stuck at specific points to help relieve pain; yoga, which involve stretching exercises and help a certain kind of sciatica pain and biofeedback, which is said to be a mind-body therapy helping you train your mind and body in controlling your reactions to pain.

Before being considered for either type of surgery, the doctor will typically have an imaging study performed such as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or a CT (computed tomography) scan in order to help diagnose the specific cause of the problem. Discectomy and microdiscectomy procedures are normally done in a hospital under general anesthesia. In some cases discectomy can be performed in an outpatient surgical center.

There are exercises which target these areas to relieve pain. In case of substantial sciatica pain, doctors only recommend exercises that are mild in nature and do not cause discomfort. Lying prone, trying to touch the chest with both knees and pelvic tilt are the most common exercises that are suggested at this stage. You can lie on your stomach with a pillow for supporting you hips. Pelvic tilt requires that you lie down on your back, bend your knees to contract the abdominal muscles.

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Discectomy surgery is a common treatment for herniated or ruptured discs of the lumbar spine and may be used for back pain sufferers who have not responded to traditional non-surgical treatments such as anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, traction, spinal decompression, and epidural steroid injections.

Causes While sciatica is most commonly a result of a disc herniation directly pressing on the nerve, any cause of irritation or inflammation of this nerve can reproduce the symptoms of sciatica. These causes include irritation of the nerve from adjacent bone, tumors, muscle, internal bleeding, infections, injury, and other causes.

Sometimes even one form of exercise is good enough to get rid of the pain. However, finding that right exercise and doing it regularly to get rid of the pain depends on the exact cause of sciatica. Your sciatica may be due to herniated disc or it may be due to piriformis syndrome that occurs due to the contraction of piriformis muscle in the area around the hips. You can stretch these muscles slowly to reduce contraction, loosen the tight muscles and reduce pressure on sciatic nerve.

A primary cause of sciatica is a herniated or bulging lower lumbar intervertebral disk that compresses one of the nerve roots before it joins the sciatic nerve. Sometimes, irritation of a branch of the sciatic nerve in the leg can be so severe as to set up a reflex pain reaction involving the entire length of the nerve. For example, if the nerve is pinched or irritated near the knee, you may feel the pain in the hip and buttock.

As a result, the patient can experience less pain and a quicker recovery. Not all patients are able undergo discectomies or microdiscectomies. A lot has to do with the particular nature of the patient's herniated disc.

Exercises are one of the most frequently used forms of sciatica treatment. They help a great deal in strengthening the muscles in the affected areas. However, it is very important to choose the correct type of sciatica exercises based on the underlying cause of sciatica in individual cases. It is always good to exercise with care and not to exercise when the pain is acute. Otherwise you will end up aggravating your pain.

Tip 4: Medication and Physical Therapy: If you are suffering from lower back and leg pain, you could start off with simple painkillers, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. If the pain is severe, affecting your day-to-day activities and simple painkillers do not work, you could have an anti-inflammatory medication prescribed for you. At times, these too are not enough and your doctor may suggest an epidural injection. In this, the medication is injected into the spine, which directs it to the areas of the sciatic nerve roots, soothing them and relieving the pain.

For more info on sciatica treatment head to: http://www.sciaticatreatment.org today!

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Always consult your doctor before you start on any form of exercise.

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For more info on sciatica treatment head to: http://www.sciaticatreatment.org today!


Mary J. Vega

 
 
     
 
 





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