Sciatica is a very painful condition and one uncommon cause of sciatic nerve pain is due to the muscle being punctured, often as the result of a fall.
The actual term, sciatica, refers to any aching symptoms in the leg that follows a typical path. The pain always begins in the lower back and travels down the leg. The sciatic nerve is one of the longest nerves in the human body. The nerve begins slightly below the lumbar nerve roots that are found in the lower back. The nerve travels to the hip and then on the backside of each leg. This condition normally only involves one nerve tract, and thus is referred to as mononeuropathy.
Sciatic nerve damage is normally unilateral, but sometimes it is bilateral. This painful condition normally lasts anywhere from six to ten weeks. The sufferer will normally experience pain in the lower part of the back, buttocks and legs. Some may even experience pain all the way to their knees as it radiates lower and lower.
There are a lot of symptoms associated with sciatic nerve damage. Pain spreading from the lower back down the back of the legs is only one painful symptom. A person suffering from sciatica may also have a stiff back, foot pain, thigh pain and difficulty moving the legs. Legs may also grow weaker as time goes on. A terrible pain that shoots throughout the area may even make it hard to stand up.
Many conditions can lead up to sciatic nerve damage. One such common cause is direct trauma to the nerve itself. This may happen when a puncture occurs, which can be caused by an injection or even a fall. Punctures can also happen when a lumbar puncture is mishandled. If the administrator is even slightly off, the patient may run the risk of suffering sciatic nerve damage. Once this occurs, the nerve and tissue becomes agitated and inflamed.
There are several ways that sciatica can be diagnosed or investigated. Under most circumstances, a patient will first present their symptoms to a doctor. If deemed necessary, the doctor will proceed with one of several tests. A spinal x ray can help the doctor determine the underlying cause of the symptoms. If compression of the nerve root is suspected, an Electromyelogram is often used. CT scans are usually a great way to make a diagnosis because it gives a detailed view on the spinal canal. It also shows the tissues that are found in the cross section. Finally, an MRI is also another viable diagnostic tool. This will give a view of the ligaments and other soft tissue using a magnetic field to produce the image.
Once sciatic nerve damage is established, the patient has several treatment options. NSAIDs and oral steroids can be used for their anti inflammatory properties. When the pain is severe enough, pain killers are often prescribed. Decompression can be completed either by surgical or non surgical means. Stretching and physical therapy are both often recommended to patients. When needed, some doctors opt for Intradiscal Electrothermoplasty, or even Coblation Nucleoplasty to gain relief for their patient.