What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is used as a generalised term to describe neurological symptoms that run from the lower back and continues down the back of either leg.
What does Sciatic Pain feel like?
Sciatica “pain” can vary between individuals. The most common symptoms are pain, burning, tingling, numbness, pins and needles and sometimes leg weakness.
What causes Sciatica?
Sciatica is caused by nerve pressure in the lower back which inhibits the normal function of the sciatic nerve.
This pressure can be caused by disc bulges, stenosis and sometimes inflammation.
The normal occurrence of Sciatica follows 3 steps.
The normal spinal structure is altered. In a healthy spine you should have smooth curves in both the neck and lower back. This prevents the intervertebral discs from taking too much pressure and helps absorb the shock of movement. However throughout life this curvature can be lost from bad posture, repetitive strain or acute trauma such as a car accident. This change in structure weakens your spine making it more likely to injure.
A specific movement triggers an overload of pressure to an already weakened disc. Normally this is a combination of bending forwards and twisting. For example bending forwards to tie your shoelace. This movement increases the pressure to your disc to a point that it causes damage.
The disc bulges and puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. As the pressure overloads the disc it will gradually bulge outwards and decrease the space in the spinal foramen for your sciatic nerve. As the disc bulge traps the nerve it prevents the nerve from functioning correctly. This then can lead to pain, tingling, burning, pins and needles and sometimes weakness.
Treatment for Sciatica?
It is very hard for you to personally treat sciatica as the spine is a very complex structure. However there are a few ways you can help aid the symptoms. Please be aware to properly correct the problem you should seek treatment from a professional.
1: Use Ice on the lower back. This will help decrease any inflammation around the disc bulge/nerve. Complete this for 5-8 Minutes 3x a Day. Please ensure the ice is wrapped in a towel to avoid ice burn/irritation.
2: Focus on your posture. Ensure when you are sat down you sit up nice and straight and pull your shoulders backwards. To help place a pillow along the lower back when sat down.
3: Make sure to set up your desk correctly. The computer screen should be just above eye level. Try to alternate the side you use the mouse on. This prevents torsion of the upper back.
4: Avoid forward bending movements. Any movement in which you are bending forwards increases the pressure applied to your discs. This will prevent the disc bulge from being able to heal and increase localised inflammation.
5: Avoid high impact exercise. Running, Jumping, Squats, Deadlifts all put increased pressure through the lower back. Stick to gentle activities such as swimming which are not high impact.