A Blocked Sciatic Nerve May Be Causing Your Back Pain: Here’s Why
Are you suffering from back pain? A blocked sciatic nerve may be the reason for it. Continue reading to know what sciatica is and how it affects the back.
Anatomy of Sciatica
Human Anatomy, Credits: pixabay
Well, the sciatic nerve is a major nerve extending from the lower end of the spinal cord down the back of the thigh and dividing above the knee joint. The Sciatic nerve is the longest and the thickest nerve in the human body.
The term “sciatica” is used to describe the nerve pain that happens from an injury or irritation to the sciatic nerve. This nerve is made up of five nerve roots: two from the lower back region called the lumbar spine and three from the final section of the spine called the sacrum. These five nerve roots come together to form a right and left sciatic nerve.
On each side of your body, one sciatic nerve runs through your hips, buttocks, and down a leg, ending just below the knee. The sciatic nerve then branches into other nerves, which continue down your leg and into your foot and toes.
What is Sciatic Pain?
Sciatic pain, Credits: pixabay
The term “Sciatica” is confused with back pain. However, sciatica is not limited to back.
“Sciatica” is a common term used to describe the pain that originates in the lower back and radiates down the leg. Sciatic pain has common features like inflammation, pinching, or compression of nerves in your lower back.
When your doctor says you have sciatica, then it means that you are experiencing mild to moderate pain along the path of the sciatic nerve.
Sciatic pain causes muscle weakness in your leg and foot, numbness in legs, and an unpleasant pricking sensation in leg, feet, and toes.
How Bad is the Pain?
Burning and stabbing pain, Credits: pixabay
Some people have a sharp, shooting, and jolts of pain. Others may describe the pain as “burning”, “electric” and “stabbing”.
Some may have constant pain, while others have a pain that comes and goes. The pain is generally more in the leg than in the lower back. When you stand for long hours, stand up, and twist your body the pain becomes worse. Forced body movements, coughing, and sneezing can aggravate the pain.
Main Causes of Sciatica
Injuries in spine cause sciatica, Credits: pixabay
In 90% of the cases, sciatica is due to herniated disk. The other causes include:
Lumbar spinal stenosis – narrowing of the spinal cord in the lower back.
Tumors within the spine –the root of the sciatic nerve can get compressed.
Infection affecting the spine.
Any injuries within the spine
Cauda equina syndrome – A rare and serious medical condition that affects the nerves in the lower part of the spinal cord
Risk Factors for Sciatica
Heavy lifting, Credits: pixabay
You may be at risk of sciatic pain if you have the following conditions
Any history of the previous injury
People in their 30s and 40s are at risk of developing sciatic problems
Jobs that involve lots of physical activity
Following an improper posture during weightlifting exercises
Sciatic Nerve block and Back pain?
Back pain, Credits: pixabay
Lower back pain is the most common health problem. There are a number of reasons for low back pain and blocked sciatic nerve may be one of the reasons.
True sciatic pain is the one that happens when a herniated disc or osteoarthritis bone spurs compress and pinch one of the contributing roots of the sciatic nerve. This condition is referred to as pinched nerve.
The pain that happens from sporting activities, recreation, and heavy labor usually causes back and leg pain, but this is misdiagnosed as sciatica.
It is important to differentiate a musculoskeletal sprain or strain from a radicular pain that is caused by an inflamed nerve root.
Treatment for Sciatic Pain
Physiotherapy, Credits: pixabay
Avoid exacerbating activities
Follow exercises such as walking or light stretching
Sitting in one place puts huge pressure and stress on the lumbar spine, which in turn can increase the pressure on the affected nerve root.
Anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, muscle relaxants, and tranquilizers are prescribed.
Physical therapy can also help
Use hot or cold compression packs to reduce pain
If the non-surgical treatment options don’t work, surgery is done.
Take Home Message
Sciatica is a common problem and simple remedies will help ease the pain.