Sciatica refers to the chronic pain that occurs due to the compression or irritation of sciatic nerve. The pain radiates along the path of this nerve which branches from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and down each leg. Effective treatment for the condition is available in New York pain management centers.
Typically, sciatica affects only one side of the body. The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating pain. Sciatica is characterized by one or a combination of the following symptoms:
- Constant pain in only one side of the buttock or leg
- Pain that worsens when sitting
- Leg pain – usually described as burning, tingling or searing
- Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
- A shooting pain in the leg that makes it difficult to stand up or to walk
Causes and Risk Factors
Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched by a herniated disk in the spine or by an overgrowth of bone (bone spur) on the vertebrae. In rare cases, the nerve can get compressed by a tumor or damaged by a disease like diabetes. The potential risk factors include age, obesity, prolonged sitting and diabetes.
Healthcare centers offer specialized treatment to manage pain. A typical sciatica pain management program would include the following:
- Physical therapy – A physical therapy program that incorporates gentle strengthening, stretching, and aerobic exercises is an important component of the treatment plan.
- Epidural steroid injections – Injections of corticosteroid medication into the area surrounding the nerve root will suppress inflammation and relieve pain.
- Pain medications – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or oral steroids can reduce sciatica pain.
- Spinal decompression therapy – This novel traction-based treatment decompresses the discs in the spine, thereby removing the pressure on the affected nerves and stressed spine. It works by creating a vacuum force within the spinal discs, which reshapes the discs and restores normal functioning.
- Chiropractic – Chiropractic treatment promotes the body’s natural potential to heal itself. A sciatica treatment plan would include spinal manipulation and possibly ice/cold therapies, ultrasound, and TENS.
In most cases, sciatica heals on its own over time with proper rest. Maintaining proper posture can also help. If the symptoms become severe and persistent, the best option is to get treatment at a professional healthcare center.