What is Sciatica?
A health article about Sciatica from Your Health Online the A to Z directory of dealing with Health Problems & nutritional Self Care Strategies
This is a form of low back pain that runs down your leg, causing pain, numbness, or tingling in the leg that can range from a mild annoyance to being a deblitating condition.
It is defined as pain caused by pressure or irritation of the sciatic nerve. It can cause pain anywhere along the distribution of the sciatic nerve from the lower back to the sole of the foot. It can also cause changes in sensation and muscle power of the leg.
The sciatic nerve is a large nerve the size of a little finger. They originate from the spinal column in the lower back and travel behind the hip joint, down the buttock and down the back of the leg to the foot.
Signs & Symptoms of Sciatica
• The main symptom is pain that shoots down from the lower back and buttocks to your leg.
• You may also have numbness or tingling in your leg.
• Sometimes your leg muscles are weak.
Types of Sciatica
What Causes Sciatica?
The sciatic nerve is formed by a group of nerves that run from the lower spine down the leg to the foot. Anything that causes irritation along the course of the nerve can cause sciatica . The most common causes are:
• overuse of your back (lifting something that is too heavy or doing work that uses your back much more than you are used to)
• injury to your back (slipping and falling, or having something hit your back).
Overuse or injury can cause muscle tension or spasm, back sprains, ligament or muscle tears, or joint problems, all of which can irritate the sciatic nerve.
Low back pain and sciatica can also be caused by infections, tumors, a ruptured disk in your back, osteoporosis, spondylosis (hardening and stiffening of the spine), or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal from bone or soft tissue).
If you have had back pain and sciatica, you are likely to get it again. To help prevent it in the long term:
• Lose weight if you are overweight.
• Do regular aerobic exercise to keep your back and abdominal muscles in shape (this can be as simple as walking),
• Learn to lift properly. Bend your knees and hips and keep your back straight when you lift a heavy object.
When to seek Medical Advice:
Your health care provider will ask about your symptoms and examine your back. If your provider thinks you might have an infection or a bone disease, you may have some lab tests or x-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI.
Most people do not need x-rays or other types of scans in the early part of their treatment. If the pain does not get better in a few weeks, or if the symptoms get worse, then special tests may be needed
Most people with low back pain and sciatica get better no matter what they do.
Often, nonprescription medicines for pain and inflammation, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen, can ease the pain. Talk to your health care provider about whether you should take these medicines.
Your provider may prescribe stronger pain medicine or other types of medicines. Your provider may prescribe oral steroids or you may be given a steroid shot into your spine to control pain and inflammation.
Ice packs or a heating pad may help reduce pain. (Do not sleep on a heating pad because it could cause burns.) Your provider may also suggest physical therapy. A program of gentle exercise may speed your recovery.
If you continue to have symptoms, you may need to have surgery. However, most people who have herniated disks do not need surgery.
Self Care strategies for Living with Sciatica
How long will the effects last?
People who have sciatica with back pain recover more slowly than people with other kinds of back pain. However, you will probably begin feeling better within a few days of a back strain or injury if you don't strain your back again and if you take some medicine for pain and inflammation. Often the pain is gone in a week or two.
Contact your provider right away if:
• You have numbness or tingling in the inner part of your thighs (in a saddle distribution).
• You have any new or increasing weakness in your legs.
Call your health care provider for a follow-up appointment if:
• The pain is not getting better.
• You have new symptoms.
How can I take care of myself?
If you have low back pain and sciatica, make sure you do not overuse your back. Strict bed rest is no longer recommended. It is better to do your usual activities but:
• Avoid lifting more than 5 pounds.
• Avoid frequent bending or other activities that make the pain worse.
Diet change strategies:
Vitamin & Nutrient Associations
Even when we try to eat well, we're disadvantaged. The nutritional content of most food has been compromised over the years, not only by deficient soils and modern production, transportation, storage and processing methods, but also by the enormous amounts of chemical and artificial substances added to promote growth, storage life, taste and appearance.
It's for this reason that more and more medical authorities are advocating the use of vitamin and mineral supplements. However, finding them in the right combination can be both confusing and costly.
The nutrition products I am going to recommend you make use of knowledge gained from the botanical world's 6,000 year history. They incorporated health building nutritional herbs with the best modern technology to help our bodies cleanse and detoxify so that the cells - the tiniest living units - can be as fully nourished as possible.
This allows the cells to grow, repair and to perform their functions with the best possible efficiency so that we feel and look better and are more able to prevent and fight disease. Once the body begins to clear itself of toxins it can more efficiently absorb nutrition.
For short term relief from nerve pain a lot of people find that calcium supplements can be helpful. When there is also nerve pain involved then a muscle relaxant like the herb Tang Kuei can often be helpful
Many people find that taking both a calcium supplement at the same time as Tang Kuei gives a measure of relief of symptoms of back and nerve pain when the pain is at a low enough level that it does not need medication.
You may find benefit from our information on detoxification as well as a bit about detoxing because of change of diet
It may be due to difficulties with your digestive system that is causing your body to be starved of key nutrients, vitamins or minerals. In this case you may find useful answers by reviewing our article on Nutrition For Your Cells. There is also more information here about why is nutrition such an issue nowadays?
It may be that your metabolism has slowed due to pressures that have been placed on your system through life in general or through specific “challenges” you have faced in the last few months or last few years. Review this by looking at our article about balancing your Metabolic Rate.
Further reading through our articles on Sciatica health issues will give you a body of information that will help you decide what options you have to deal with the underlying causes of your problem through giving your body the nutrition products that will assist you body to heal from the inside out.
We wish you well in your search for solutions to this Sciatica problem and your movement towards better health in all areas.
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