What is Sciatica Pain?


Xray of sciatica pain in backThe condition described as sciatica manifests itself as pain that originates from the lower back, radiates thru the buttock and travels down the back of the leg. The levels of pain can be quite diverse from mild tingling or weakness to searing debilitating pain.  Those that have the most intense symptoms can be incapable of conducting everyday activities as simple as getting out of bed in the morning. A good portion of the general population will find that the pain passes within a couple of weeks to several months using methods that will not involve surgery.

Sciatica pain sufferers experience symptoms that vary in intensity and are not typical in all patients. The sciatic nerve is the origin of sciatica pain and it runs through several muscles in the lower back, splits and runs through the buttocks and down back of each leg and is the cause of a great number of unpleasant symptoms. Sciatica pain can manifest itself on one side of your buttock or leg and usually is worse when sitting. One cause of sciatica is Piriformis Syndrome.  Because the sciatic nerve divides at the tailbone into two branches and leads to each leg you will many times see symptoms of sciatica pain only on one side of your body.  Sciatica pain in some people presents as a burning or tingling in one or both legs while also developing a weakness, numbness or immobility of your leg or foot.  These are some of the milder symptoms.  In some people the sciatica pain symptoms could be quite severe; constant pain on one side, an intense burning sensation that makes it almost impossible to stand up, walk or sit up.

Sciatica Pain-What is the Cause of Sciatica Pain

There is only one effective way to treat sciatica pain. Relieve the underlying cause for the sciatica pain.  Actually, sciatica is not a medical diagnosis it refers to the actual symptom of the underlying problem in the lower back  that is causing the sciatica pain.

It could be a herniated disc or spinal stenosis.  This condition will compress the nerve roots or at the very least, irritate the nerve. In additional articles on this site we cover some of the underlying causes and how to alleviate the sciatica pain. Additionally, by following some of the simple techniques covered in “The Sciatica Pain Resource Guide” you can prevent future attacks of sciatica pain.

Sciatica  Risk Factors

Usually you will see symptoms of sciatica pain in people who are thirty to fifty years of age, but it can develop in anyone as a result of a specific injury. Sciatica pain will sometimes develop from excessive physical activity over time, as the structures in the lower spine will deteriorate as a result of general wear and tear. Personally, I had my first sciatica attack at the age of sixty-six as a result of preparing to move out of our home of 31 years. The constant walking and preparation finally resulted in a sciatica flare up that was so intense that I was bedridden for a full six weeks. My doctor’s clinical diagnosis for my condition was that it was the result of a “radiculopathy” or a protruded spinal disc in the vertebral column. This result of this condition can be sciatica pain and it actually is pressure on the nerve root (radicular nerve) that forms the sciatic nerve (a bundle of nerves in the lower back). The only way to effectively treat this condition is to correct the condition in the spine. That can be accomplished several ways without having to resort to radical surgery.

Sciatica Pain Causes and Treatment overview

Other than an injury, most sciatica pain develops as a result of aging of our lower back muscle structure. One effective approach is to strengthen the lower back and leg muscles through targeted exercises.  The simplest exercise is just walking.  Start gradually and work up to about a three or four mile walk at a moderate to brisk pace. Walking will strengthen and add flexibility to your back and leg muscles.  It is low-impact and is great for the lower back. This activity is low-impact which is a better activity for older people if done on a consistent basis.  Many sciatica pain sufferers have found that consistent walking activity has eleminated most symptoms and pain. If you health permits, aerobic exercise is another great way to relieve your sciatica pain symptoms. Exercise is a very effective way to improve general body fitness while alleviating sciatica pain symptoms.

There is no substitute for seeking the advice of a medical professional.  It is critical that you find the proper diagnosis for your pain. Proper treatment can differ depending on the root cause of the sciatica pain, the degree and intensity of the pain and the physical condition of the person with the pain.  Ruling out the more serious causes of the sciatica pain is important and is why self-treating your pain without the help of a healthcare professional is just not the smart approach.

Whether you are inclined to seek the traditional approach to sciatica pain or alternative medicine as a solution it is important to get a diagnosis and a treatment plan that will relieve your symptoms by correcting the underlying condition that is causing the pain.