Common back afflictions that can cause nerve compression and irritation include a herniated or slipped disc, bone spurs, narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis), or muscle spasms in the buttocks.
Some symptoms to look out for include:
- aching in the lower back that may or may not spread through the back of the legs
- pain extending from the buttock down to the foot
- in more extreme cases, numbness or weakness in the legs
Exercises and pain relief for sciatica
Sciatica usually gets better on its own, but there are a few doctor-recommended ways to prevent this kind of lower back discomfort:
- Regular exercise, especially yoga and pilates that strengthens the lower back and legs
- Stretching the lower back and legs
- Maintaining good posture, even while sitting
- After standing for a long period of time, rotate resting your foot on a box or stool
- Lift heavy objects by using your legs rather than letting your back take the weight
The main way to relieve the pain of sciatica is to rest. Rest takes the pressure off of the sciatic nerve, alleviating some of the distress. But, if your pain significantly increases or you experience a loss of sensation or strength in your legs, it’s important to contact your doctor immediately.
When should I consult my physician?
In most cases, sciatica will clear up on its own. Sometimes, this condition doesn’t need any type of medical intervention and it will resolve itself. The exception is if you notice a dramatic increase in pain or you start to feel weakness or numbing in your legs. If these symptoms occur, contact your doctor immediately. Diagnosing sciatica as early as possible can help prevent permanent damage to the nerves.
Our physicians at NewSouth NeuroSpine can diagnose this condition, usually with a physical examination. Sometimes additional tests may be required. Depending on the cause of the pain, your physician will create a treatment plan that works best for you and your condition. Physical therapy, medication, injections, or activity modifications are some forms of treatment that can help to reverse the pain of sciatica. Severe cases may require surgery, but your doctor will help you determine if that is necessary.
If you want to learn more about sciatica or would like to schedule a consultation, request an appointment with NewSouth NeuroSpine today.