Have you experienced a prickly sensation down your lower back and leg? Do you often feel pain or numbness down your leg and have no idea what the root cause is? These feelings could indicate you suffer from sciatica, which is not really a medical problem so much as a grouping of symptoms related to pressure on the sciatic nerve that could indicate an actual medical problem.
If you have, or suspect you have may have sciatica it is important to schedule an appointment immediately to confirm the diagnosis and begin treatment.
How do you know if that tingling sensation is sciatica or something else? It can be difficult but the most identifiable aspect is where you feel the symptoms. The sciatic nerve is one of the largest in the human body, travelling down the lower back through the leg. You may experience pain in this region ranging from tingling, a dull ache to an intense pain that hinders mobility.
Generally sciatic pain only appears on one side of the body, but in rare cases it can occur on both sides simultaneously. The pain may occur in the hip, foot, calf, lower back or thigh, and often it spreads up or down. Movement may cause the pain to worsen, particularly strenuous physical activity.
If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to get treatment for sciatica right away.
There are many tests and procedures to determine if one is suffering from pressure on the sciatic nerve. Although some physicians may base their diagnosis on your symptoms, many will require a series of tests to be certain. However if you have recently suffered a trauma or injury, this may also be the cause of the damage to the sciatic nerve.
The physician may require a battery of basic tests—x-rays, MRIs and blood tests—to determine if you have an infection that may be causing the pain. Infections like meningitis, cancer, kidney stone or even a urinary tract infection can lead to sciatic pain. If you’ve experienced the pain for a period of time the doctor may require you to undergo a neuromuscular exam to ensure your reflex responses are normal.
Long term sciatica can cause abnormal reflexes to muscular stimulation, especially in the area affected.
Treatment For Sciatica
Some of these tests will confirm that you have sciatica while others will seek to determine the cause of your sciatica. There are a variety of conditions that can compress the sciatic nerve and finding those will help your physician formulate an appropriate treatment plan.
Treatment for sciatica can vary widely from patient to patient because the conditions that cause sciatica can vary just as much. How long you suffer from sciatica will also vary based on how long you had symptoms before seeking medical attention, what remedies you undertook on your own and what physical steps you’ve taken to relieve pain.
There is really no set timetable for sciatica, but we do know that you can reduce your suffering time by using quick pain relief solutions such as hot and cold compresses, over the counter painkillers and physical therapy. Your physician may offer injections to reduce inflammation to the affected area and your physical therapist may advise you to use the fetal pose to relief pain and tension.
These are just a few ways to treat sciatica quickly for a faster healing time.
No physician can tell you exactly how long sciatica will last, but fast diagnosis and treatment is a surefire way to reduce your treatment time. If however you have ignored the symptoms for a long time and relied on basic pain medications to keep you going, the chances are good that you can experience long-term damage which can cause loss of movement, limited mobility and numbness and tingling sensations.
Written By: Updated: June 28,2011