What Is The Treatment Of The Sciatic Nerve?

Article on what the sciatic nerve is and how to treat it.

Sciatica is a condition caused by the sciatic nerves in the body becoming inflamed. The sciatic nerves begin from your lower spine and continue down the buttock area, back of the leg, and into the foot. Symptoms can range from a light tingling feeling, burning sensation to a full blown shooting pain radiating from your lower back, buttock area or leg. Sciatica usually affects only one side, although it is possible to also run down both legs.

There are several reasons why sciatica occurs. Sometimes the nerve in the lower spine can become pinched or a disk might be slipped. Arthritis or a sprained ligament will narrow the nerves' passageways causing the nerve endings to become tender and sore. Other possibilities could include an abscess, growth or blood clot, but this is rare.

Many people can be doing something relatively simple when a particular movement will cause such excruciating pain that standing up becomes extremely difficult. Sitting can make the pain worse. Sciatica can be very frightening especially if you do not realize what is wrong. You begin to feel that you may become crippled, although most of the time sciatica can be treated effectively.

For the first few days it is vitally important to stay off your feet as much as possible. The worst thing you can do is get up and down repeatedly as this causes the nerve to become more irritated. Although there does seem to be a debate on whether bed rest makes the symptoms better or not, it is generally agreed upon that bed rest is advisable for the first few days at least.

Although soaking in warm baths soothe and ease the pain, do not use heating pads at first while the nerve is inflamed. Prolonged heat draws the inflammation in, keeping the swelling high. Most doctors tell their patients to apply ice packs directly on the lower back area for about twenty minutes at a time, every couple of hours. Although this can feel like torture, the cold pack helps reduce swelling. Mineral ice is also great at soothing the pain and offering temporary relief.

Some doctors will prescribe muscle relaxers but it is best to avoid them if at all possible because of the side effects associated with these types of prescription drugs. Many medications can be highly addictive, or they can also give you a sense of feeling better that you wind up straining your back worse by overdoing it. Over the counter drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen will effectively relieve mild to moderate pain.

Chiropractors will give you massage therapy and back adjustments which is a highly effective treatment. You should be able to go home and rest after your appointment so that your spine will have a better opportunity to stay in alignment for longer periods of time. When your back begins to heal there are stretching and/or low impact exercises your doctor will give you so that the muscle won't stiffen too much. But you should only exercise after your doctor approves it.

Surgery is not considered a good alternative as it only helps about one in one hundred people. Surgery has also been known to cause even more damage in many cases. In extreme, chronic cases your doctor may suggest an MRI to rule out certain things such as nerve or tissue damage.

There are some alternative treatments available that you might find helpful. Accupressure and acupuncture, herbal therapies, homeopathy and biofeedback and guided imagery are just a few.

Be sure to improve your posture and use safe lifting techniques. Placing a pillow between your legs while you sleep can also help if you experience back pain while sleeping. If you travel a lot, be sure to place a pillow behind your lower back and pull over every two hours or so and walk around. The same applies if you must work at a desk for long periods of time or study and read a lot.

These are just a few ideas to help you begin your recovery from sciatic. Be patient, treat the pain by using these techniques and you should be as good as new in no time at all.

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