What is Sciatica?

Your body is comprised of several nerves that are essential for everyday functions and behaviors. The nervous system is found in every part of the body and affects the brain and other essential organs. One of the nerves in your body is called the sciatic nerve. This nerve is very special because it is the longest nerve in the human body and in other mammals in the animal kingdom. The sciatic nerve vertically spans over half of the body. It begins on one end from the lower backbone and goes down to the legs. It is most connected with nerves in the backbone. Sciatica is a symptom and is not a condition on its own. Sciatica is a sign that you are experiencing some other condition.

How will you know if you have it?
Sciatica is a symptom with its own recognizable symptoms. Sciatica is known to cause significant pain as well as pain that is more mild and dull. You could be suffering from sciatica for a short time period, like a few weeks or you may experience symptoms for a longer period of time, like more than a month. Sciatica usually affects one of your legs because this is where the sciatic nerve is located. Symptoms that are most common include pain and weakness. You will feel pain in the muscles near the sciatic nerve. This pain could spread downward to your feet and upward to your waist and hips. Sciatica can cause you to feel numbness in your legs. Your legs could lose feeling or you may have a burning sensation.

Why do people get sciatica?
People experience sciatica for multiple reasons. Since the sciatic nerve begins in the lower back area, any abnormal condition of the back could cause sciatica. Conditions like piriformis syndrome and stenosis cause issues that are neuromuscular and/or nerve related. Issues like this can trigger sciatica you should first target the cause of sciatica. If you have a deteriorating, thin, bulging or herniated disc, this can cause bone spurs to form and cause irritation to the nerve roots in the spinal column. When nerve roots are aggravated, blocked or irritated, pain can radiate from the area and transfer through other nerves like the sciatic nerve. Anything that causes the nerves of the back to compress or come under pressure can trigger sciatica.

How should you deal with sciatica?
Sciaitica has to be looked at as a symptom rather than a condition in order for any treatment to be effective. Treating the causes of sciatica is the only way to treat sciatica. Since the sciatic nerve will go into pain for a limited amount of time ranging from a few weeks to about a month, you should determine your treatment based on the duration of your sciatica. Physical therapy is one of the best ways to combat the causes of sciatica. Physical therapy can help to relax the muscles and reduce pain. Through specialized physical exercises and activities, sciatica can be managed easily.

Filed Under: Sciatica
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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