Managing Sciatica: Know-How?

Managing Sciatica Know-How

Sciatica is nerve pain caused by irritation, inflammation, pinching or compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve originates in the buttock/gluteal region. On each side, the sciatic nerve runs down your hips, buttocks and down the leg. “Sciatica” is commonly used to describe any pain that originates in the lower back and radiates down the leg.

You may experience mild to severe pain anywhere along the path of the sciatic nerve – that is, anywhere from the lower back, through the hips, buttocks and/or down your legs. It can also cause muscle weakness in your leg and foot, numbness in your leg, and an unpleasant tingling pins-and-needles sensation in your leg, foot and toes.

Causes Of Sciatica
Sciatica is caused by various medical conditions such as:

  • Herniated/slip disc: Pressure from vertebrae can cause gel-like discs to bulge in their outer wall. When this herniated disc happens in the lower back, it may compress the sciatic nerve.
  • Spinal Stenosis: The abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal.
  • Spondylolisthesis: Slippage of one vertebra over another narrowing the opening through which the nerve exits.
  • Osteoarthritis: Bone spurs in the aging spine can compress the sciatic nerve.
  • Trauma
  • Piriformis syndrome: Piriformis is a deep muscle in the buttock. A tight piriformis can put pressure on or irritate the sciatic nerve.

Diagnosis Of Sciatica

  • Physical examination: During the physical examination, the doctor will perform a few special tests that may aggravate the symptoms showing a positive test. Along with the special tests, a thorough examination of the sensations, reflexes and strength is also done.
  • X-rays: An X-ray will show spine abnormalities or bone spurs that may compress the nerve.
  • MRI: An MRI will produce cross-sectional images of your back. An MRI produces detailed images of bone and soft tissues such as herniated disks.
  • CT-scan: A contrast dye may be injected into your spinal canal before the X-rays are taken in a process termed a CT myelogram. Following that, the dye spreads around your spinal cord and spinal nerves, which look white in the image.
  • Nerve Conduction Velocity: Nerve conduction velocity studies/electromyography to examine how well electrical impulses travel through the sciatic nerve and the response of muscles.

Management for Sciatica

  • Self-care using ice/hot packs: To minimise pain and swelling, start with ice packs. Ice packs should be used on the affected area. Apply for 20 minutes, several times a day. After the first few days, switch to using a hot pack or a heating pad. Each application should last for 20 minutes.
  • Medications: Pain, inflammation, and swelling can all be reduced with medication. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a type of over-the-counter treatment that is widely used.
  • Physiotherapy: A physiotherapist can teach you how to stretch properly. A physical therapist who will work with you to create your own stretching and aerobic exercise regimen, as well as suggest other exercises to improve your back, abdomen, and legs muscles. The use of electrotherapeutic modalities for radiating pain shows excellent results.

When should you consider surgery?
If alternative treatment options, such as physiotherapy and medication, have failed, your pain is worsening, you have severe weakness in your lower extremities muscles, or you have lost bladder or bowel control, spinal surgery is usually indicated. The goal of spinal surgery for sciatica is to relieve pressure on pinched nerves while also ensuring that the spine is stable. Surgical procedures such as microdiscectomy or laminectomy are common procedures performed.

How Sancheti Hospital can help?
Sancheti Hospital is one of the leading hospitals across the country, specialising in Orthopaedic care. They have a panel of highly qualified and skilled surgeons with more than a decade’s experience in successful surgeries. From hip and joint replacements, knee and back surgeries, to treating sports injuries and helping patients recover faster, Sancheti offers it all, with advanced medical technology and equipment. So, if you are looking for the best orthopaedic care in Pune, you should definitely consider Sancheti Hospital.

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