Sciatica is a disorder that happens when the sciatic nerve of an individual becomes irritated, leading to pain in the back of one leg.
This article reviews the signs of sciatica, how to treat and handle it, how long it lasts, and when to see a physician.
What does sciatica feel like?
From the hip to the bottom of the foot, the sciatic nerve normally runs, so sciatic pain usually focuses on the bottom, behind the knee and lower leg.
Because of this, many people with sciatica wrongly believe the pain shows a problem with the knee, not a problem with the lower back.
The most common cause of sciatic nerve pain is a slipped disk, or herniated disk.
The intervertebral disks between the vertebrae of the spine of a human are soft cushions of tissue. A slipped disk occurs when one becomes slightly dislodged, pushing out from the spine. This can put pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing sciatica.
Sciatica can also cause other problems, such as tumors or infections.
How long does the pain last?
Most sciatic pain lasts 4–6 weeks. Acute pain, which may subside into a dull ache, may feel like a stabbing, shooting, or burning sensation.
If it lasts for more than 6 weeks and does not improve, Sciatica becomes chronic.
If the pain is excruciating or persists for more than 12 months, doctors usually recommend waiting to resolve the problem without medical help.
What causes a sciatic flare-up?
Most lifestyle options may cause the appearance or flare-up of sciatica. Many apply to the chronic sedentary lifestyle of a human.
Sitting for long periods can cause symptoms or make them worse, especially with bad posture. Even lying down can aggravate the sciatic nerve for long periods.
Without the correct technique, lifting heavy objects is another acute cause of sciatica. This can lead to a slipped disk, which can bring the sciatic nerve under pressure.
How to manage pain
Try to stop sitting or lying down for long periods to alleviate sciatic discomfort. Take short walks and keep yourself active.
They should ensure that they have a proper chair and good posture if a person has to sit down for work or school. People can also strive to stop long distance driving.
Lying down with a heat or ice pack for a couple of minutes can help if the pain is serious. Over-the-counter or prescription medication for pain relief can also temporarily alleviate discomfort.
Treating sciatica at home
Time, good posture, and exercise are the best treatments for sciatica. While the pain may be intense, sciatica usually goes away on its own in 3 out of 4 people.
People should make sure that when they decide to sit for a long period of time, they have good posture.
Exercise can help to relieve discomfort and prevent sciatica from returning, such as cycling, yoga , pilates, and gentle stretching.
Can the pain go away on its own?
Sciatica pain usually self-resolves.
However, as well as doing routine light stretching and exercise, it helps to adopt a healthy sitting posture.
When to see a doctor
Consider talking to a doctor if sciatica pain lasts longer than 6 weeks or gets too serious.
To help alleviate symptoms, medications or spinal steroid injections can be administered by medical professionals.
A physician could recommend seeing a physical therapist for manual manipulation, massage, and specific sciatica exercises to address the underlying cause.
A doctor can perform surgery to remove part of the spinal disk that affects the nerve if sciatic pain lasts for 6 months to 1 year.
Here are several good practices that can help prevent sciatica from developing:
- sitting and standing with good posture
- avoiding sitting or lying down for long periods
- using good form when picking up something heavy, including lifting from the knees, not the back
- exercising and stretching regularly
Some research indicates that at some stage in their lives, 40 percent of individuals will get sciatica, usually between the ages of 30-50.
Sciatica will be resolved on its own in a few weeks without any medical attention for most individuals. To remedy the issue, yoga classes and some lifestyle changes may be enough.
In certain cases, however, the pain can be severe and may last for several months.
Medical treatment, such as physical therapy, injections, or surgery, may be required for people with chronic sciatica.
Sciatica results from pain as a result of sciatic nerve irritation. In the lower back, buttocks, and down the back of either knee, people may feel sciatic pain.
In 4–6 weeks, Sciatica typically gets better, but it may last longer. Consider talking to a doctor about treatment options if the pain is serious or lasts longer than 6 weeks.