Sciatica, What You Need to Know

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When you experience pain on your lower back when you bend and the pain goes down to your legs, chances are you are experiencing sciatica. Sciatica is the manifestation of pain resulting from the irritation and pinching of the sciatic nerve. Pain induced by sciatica usually starts at the lower middle back. Then it goes down to the calf all the way to the foot depending on what nerve root is affected. Sciatica results from another health problem and is not a medical problem per se.  Oftentimes, the medical condition that causes sciatica is a herniated disc. There are other factors besides a herniated disc that can also cause inflammation and irritation on the sciatic nerve that can then result in the symptoms of sciatica.

The largest nerve in the body is the sciatic nerve. Its origins begin in the lumbar spinal cord situated in the lower back. Then it stretches through the buttocks, hips and all the way down to the lower limb. An irritated and/or inflamed sciatic nerve creates pain that feels like a leg cramp. The intensity of a sciatic pain is such that it makes standing up or sitting down extremely difficult to do. The pain can be exacerbated when the sufferer coughs, sneezes or sits. Acute sciatic pain often endures for a month to a couple of months depending on the cause.

As mentioned, sciatica often results from a herniated or slipped disc. People with a high risk for slipped discs are typically those who are in their 30’s up to 50’s.  The aging factor that implies the wear and tear of the back muscles, ligaments and joints make the back prone to disc problems potentially causing sudden pressure on the discs. The discs in question are the vertebral discs that function like cushions of the bone in the lower spine. As it slowly weakens, the disc can slip or become displaced that can result in sciatic symptoms. Sciatic pain can vary in intensity depending on the severity of the nerves affected.

A disc can cause additional pressure leading to sciatic pain when it slips or bulges. Other sciatica symptoms can include tingling sensation, numbness and a burning sensation.

 Key words:  Sciatica

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