Sciatica is a condition caused by irritation, inflammation, compression or compression of the sciatic nerve. It can cause moderate to severe pain and weakness in your lower back, buttocks, and legs.
Sciatica usually occurs in
Here are some reasons why your sciatica may worsen.
Injury and re-injury
If your sciatica is caused by an injury, and your symptoms go from time to time, then you may have worsened the injury that caused the sciatica in the first place.
Sudden injuries and repeated overuse injuries can cause sciatica symptoms. A herniated disc is the most common cause of sciatica.
Age and underlying health
Generally speaking, young people heal faster than old people. However, there are many underlying health conditions that can also slow down your body’s ability to heal. Some conditions include:
An epidural abscess is a collection of pus that forms between the bones of the spine and the membrane of the spinal cord. It can cause swelling, which can put pressure on your nerves and cause sciatica.
The wear and tear of the spine can cause a disease called spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the space in the spine. This narrowing can compress your nerves and cause sciatica.
Sciatica usually responds to mild exercise. It is thought that mobilizing the sciatic nerve may help improve symptoms by reducing nerve sensitivity. It is recommended that gentle stretching and exercise be part of the treatment.
Or, a sedentary lifestyle and sitting for long periods of time may aggravate the symptoms of sciatica.
Spinal lump or tumor
In rare cases, a cancerous mass can put pressure on your sciatic nerve. A very rare tumor that can develop is called malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor.
Sciatica usually responds to home treatments, but you should see a medical professional first to make sure you are dealing with sciatica. If you have not tried to treat your symptoms at home, you may find the following methods helpful:
- cold. Try applying ice packs or cold compresses to the painful area several times a day for about 20 minutes.
- hot. After the first few days, you can apply a heat pack or heating pad to the painful area several times a day for 15 to 20 minutes each time to stimulate blood flow to the injured area.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen can help you control pain, swelling and inflammation.
- Physical therapy, stretching and exercise: A physical therapist can help you strengthen weak muscles and stretch tight muscles that can cause pain. The British National Health Service recommends to resume normal activities and moderate exercise as soon as possible. Always carry out these activities under the guidance of professionals.
See a doctor
If you have tried home remedies, but the pain is getting worse, it is best to see a doctor.
Your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants, stronger painkillers, or other medicines. In some cases, they may recommend epidural steroids. These drugs are injected into the area around your spinal cord to reduce inflammation.
In some cases, surgery may be the best option. This includes worsening pain, pain not improved by other treatments, and severe weakness of the muscles that cause the bladder or bowel to lose control.
One option is microdiscectomy, which is a minimally invasive surgery that usually relieves symptoms quickly. This procedure removes the disc material that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Also consider laminectomy, which is a type of surgery that involves removing bones to reduce pressure on the spinal cord.
Sciatica usually lasts about
It is not always clear why some people suffer from chronic sciatica and some people do not.Some of the risk factors associated with chronic sciatica include incorrect weightlifting technique and non-participation
Risk factors for recurrent disc herniation include:
- Herniated disc
Sciatica may recur, especially if the underlying cause is not treated. For example, if you use an incorrect lifting technique after a herniated disc and develop sciatica, continuing to use the same lifting technique puts you at risk of injury again.
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Researchers also found that 28% of patients with low back pain experienced pain within a year, and 70% experienced pain within 3 years.
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Lifestyle changes like the following may help you prevent the recurrence of sciatica symptoms:
- Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
- Try to reduce your sitting position and sit upright.
- Avoid bending over when lifting heavy objects.
- Choose sports that are unlikely to cause lower back injuries.
- Avoid smoking.
- Wear sturdy shoes and keep the floor of the house tidy to minimize the chance of falling.
In most cases, mild sciatica will go away within 4 to 6 weeks. But you should talk to your doctor when you develop symptoms to make sure you are dealing with sciatica. You will return to see a medical professional if:
- Your pain is getting worse
- Your symptoms start after a sudden injury
- You have severe pain, muscle weakness or numbness
- You have lost control of your bladder or bowel
- Symptoms last more than 6 weeks
- Pain interferes with your daily life
- After the initial visit, you did not respond to treatment
After your initial visit, if the symptoms do not go away, you should discuss plans for when to return.
In most cases, sciatica will disappear within a few months. It is best to see a medical professional at the first sign of symptoms to develop a treatment plan.
Some people’s pain may last longer than average. To prevent the recurrence of sciatica, try not to bend your back when you lift it up. It is also a good idea to consider regular exercise and a balanced diet.
If you have severe pain, the pain will gradually get worse, or if you notice any other problems, it is best to talk to a health professional.