What is sciatica

Sciatica is neuralgia of the sciatic nerve, characterized by pain in the lower back, combined with pain in the flank, which can reach the foot. Sometimes sciatica occurs from weak leg muscles.

The sciatic nerves are the largest nerves in the body and are about the thickness of our puppy. They exit the spine at the lower back and then pass behind the hip joint, down to the buttock and down the back of the leg to the foot.

The pain of sciatica is different because it usually starts in the lower back and usually involves one of the limbs. The pain is usually felt like an electric current, but it may also be accompanied by burning or tingling in the leg.

The pain can be mild and not cause serious discomfort or very strong and unbearable. In some people, there may be pain in one part of the leg, and in the other the leg may feel as if it is numb.

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

The most common symptom of sciatica is pain from the lower back to the foot.

The pain usually increases with prolonged sitting or standing. The pain often worsens when standing up after standing in a lower chair or, for example, when getting up from a low toilet seat.

For most people, the pain is increased by sneezing, coughing, laughing or constipation. Bending the body backwards can also make the pain worse.

With the pain, you may also feel weakness in the leg. This weakness may be so severe that you cannot move your leg.

What are the causes?

Sciatica is caused by inflammation of the sciatic nerve. There is usually no specific reason associated with the appearance of sciatica. Sometimes the pain starts suddenly after lifting something heavy or standing up suddenly. The causes of sciatica can be:

  • Disc herniation is the most common cause of sciatica;
  • Spinal stenosis – narrowing of the canal that contains the spinal cord; >
  • Osteoarthritis and fractures due to osteoporosis;
  • Pregnancy;

Sciatica treatment

Some tips for pain relief at home:

  • Do not arch your back or sit on soft and low chairs, as this will increase the pain. For pain relief, you can take the standard over-the-counter pain relievers, paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen. But you should not take them if you are currently taking blood-thinning medication such as warfarin.
  • Apply a cold compress to the areas of pain. If there is no way to make a cold compress, you can, for example, packs of frozen vegetables. It is best if someone around you massages you with an ice cube on the areas affected by the pain. The massage therapist should move the ice cube away from the massaged area if your skin becomes too cold.
  • If you don’t have an electric heating pad or electric blanket, wet a towel with hot water and place it on your lower back. Some physical therapists believe that the heat from a wet towel penetrates deeper and provides better pain relief.
  • You will feel better if you lie on your back on a firm surface with a pillow under your knees you are Another way is to lie on your side with a pillow between your knees to keep your back straight. A chair with an adjustable backrest will also help reduce pain.

How to protect yourself?

Whether you have already suffered from sciatica or want to to prevent this condition, here are some tips and exercises that can help keep your back healthy and reduce your risk of sciatica.

  • Keep your back straight when squatting: Proper squatting technique is essential. Standing with your back straight and using your leg muscles to stand up can reduce the strain on your spine and sciatic nerve.
  • Regular exercise to move your body: Physical activity is the key to maintaining a healthy back. A variety of back and abdominal exercises, such as stretching, yoga, and pilates, can keep your back flexible and healthy.
  • Strengthen your back muscles: Include exercises that target the muscles of the spine, such as hyperextensions, deadlifts, and bodyweight exercises. Strong back muscles can provide better support to the spine and reduce the risk of sciatica.
  • Proper Squats: If you perform squats, make sure your back is straight , and your weight is distributed evenly over the heel and middle of your feet. Improper squats can increase stress on the spine and contribute to sciatica.
  • Strengthening leg muscles: Strong legs can help maintain spine stability and reduce stress on it. . Incorporate exercises like hammertoes, lunges, and stabilization exercises into your training program.
  • Maintain a healthy body mass: Excess weight can increase stress on the spine and increase the risk of sciatica . Maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular physical activity.
  • Proper back support: Choose a suitable mattress and chair with good back support, especially if you spend long hours sitting. Give your back proper support to reduce the risk of stress and strain on the spine.
  • Practice good basic hygiene: Maintain proper body position when performing various activities such as sitting and standing to reduce the strain on your spine.

Following these tips and exercises can significantly reduce your risk of sciatica and help you maintain a healthy back.

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