Sciatica is pain that radiates down your leg in the direction of the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back to your hips and buttocks. Sciatica usually impacts just one side of the body.
A herniated disc, bone spur on the spine, or a weakening of the spine or compressing part of the nerve are the leading cause of sciatica. The common symptoms experienced in the affected leg include numbness, pain, and inflammation.
While the pain involved with sciatica can be intense, the majority of patients heal within a few weeks with non-operative procedures. People with chronic sciatica who still have major leg disability or bowel or bladder modifications may require surgical procedures.
Incidence of sciatica in Canada
According to six-month duration research in Canada, 5 in 10 Canadians suffered from low back pain, and the pain of 1 individual is linked with sciatica. However, among the Canadian population, the expectancy of the low back is about 85%.
Although low back pain is a frequent complaint in emergency rooms according to the latest figures from Canada. Patients reporting to the emergency room with back pain accounted for 3.17 % of all patients. Non-specific/mechanical low back pain with no possible nerve root presence accounted for 60.8 % of all back pain presentations.
Non-specific/mechanical low back pain with possible nerve root interaction accounted for 6.7 % of back pain presentations, while low back pain due to secondary causes accounted for 9.9 %.
How is sciatica diagnosed?
You will be instructed to walk throughout your physical test so that your physician can determine how your spine holds your weight. To test the strength of your calf muscles, you might be challenged to move on your toes and heels. A straight leg raise examination can also be performed by the doctor. For the diagnosis of sciatica, healthcare providers review medical history and ask about symptoms.
After the conclusion of the physical examination, your healthcare professional will decide the best suitable test for the diagnosis. The following are the most used tests for the diagnosis of sciatica.
- X-rays: Spinal X-ray helps to evaluate bone spurs, disk problems, spinal fractures, and infections.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans:
- This gives detailed images of soft tissues and bone of the back. Moreover, arthritic conditions, nerve pressure, and disk herniation are also evaluated with MRI.
- Nerve conduction velocity studies/electromyography: The muscle response and conduction of electrical impulses are evaluated in the sciatic nerve.
Management and treatment
The aim of sciatica treatment includes increasing mobility and decrease pain. Depending on the cause most of the time many cases of sciatica go away with simple care and treatments.
Applying ice and/or hot packs:
Initially, to reduce swelling and pain ice packs are applied to the affected area. Apply ice packs regularly. After a few days, apply a hot pack to the affected area. By applying both cold and hot packs, it relieves discomfort and related pain.
Taking over-the-counter medicines:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are mostly prescribed by doctors to reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation. Commonly used NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. If NSAIDs are not suitable, then acetaminophen is mostly used by many people.
Muscle relaxants, such as cyclobenzaprine can be used by the doctor to alleviate the pain of muscle spasms. Tricyclic antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs are two other pain-relieving medications to consider. Prescription painkillers can be used early in the care plan, depending on the severity of the pain.
Physical therapy aims are to identify workout movements that alleviate sciatica by decreasing nerve pressure. Exercises or stretching to increase muscular endurance and aerobic exercises can be used with every fitness routine. Your doctor will send you to a physical therapist, who can consult with you to develop a stretching and aerobic fitness regimen customized to your needs and prescribe other workouts to improve the muscles in your spine, belly, and legs.
Alternative treatments are becoming more common as a means of treating and managing various types of pain. Spinal therapy by a certified chiropractor, exercise, or acupuncture are also options for relieving sciatic discomfort. Massage can help with muscle spasms, which are common with sciatica. Biofeedback is a method that can be used to relieve discomfort and related pain.
Prevention of Sciatica
As we know there are many causes of sciatica, such as arthritis, herniated disk, bone spurs, and spinal stenosis. The pain of sciatica is often severe because the sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. However, the following are the ways to prevent sciatica
- Exercise: For strengthening back and abdomen muscles
- Proper lifting methods: Learn different methods to protect extra pressure on the legs, hips and, back.
- Maintain good posture when sitting: If you work by sitting for a long time then practicing proper posture helps to relieve the pressure.
- Do not smoke: Disk degeneration is one of the harmful effects of smoking. That’s why smoking cessation helps to lower the risk of sciatica.
Services provided by The Health First Group
Many healthcare services are provided by the health first group. The health first group is located in the heart of Etobicoke and Mississauga. If you have sciatica pain, then you can contact the health first group. They have experts providing healthcare services related to osteopathy, physiotherapy, massage therapy, naturopathy, acupuncture, and chiropractic.
Physiotherapy, chiropractic, and massage therapy are provided to sciatica patients. The health first group has the latest equipment that provides effective and most suitable treatments to sciatica patients.
Our skilled health care professionals are committed to assisting you in achieving your objectives. Every patient receives an individualized care plan tailored to their specific requirements. We evaluate and monitor your improvement so that we can keep track of daily feedback and change any new therapies or resources you may need. We put in a lot of effort so that you can get the best treatment.