Quite often, if you have an uncomfortable pain pervading the lumbar region and radiating into the legs, it occurs for a reason. Unfortunately, very few people know of its existence until the pain becomes noticeable at some point. If you experience sciatica in Washington, PA, you can get treatment after a comprehensive assessment. Here are sciatica facts you should know.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is associated with a herniated disc, osteoarthritis, or a narrowing of the canal in the spine. When the sciatic nerve, which provides nerve transmission to the main muscles of the buttocks and legs, is compressed between two vertebrae, you will feel pain in the back of the thigh and up to the calf or foot. The pain can be disabling and always require medical consultation.
Pressure on the piriformis muscle
The piriformis is a finger-thick muscle responsible for the rotation of your hip joint. It lies under the gluteal muscles and runs from the sacrum to the top edge of your thigh bone.
Getting too close can have some unpleasant experiences. If the muscle is overloaded on one side, it cramps, swells, presses, and pinches the sciatic nerve. This condition is also known as piriformis syndrome, and the symptoms are similar to a herniated disc. Also, the gluteal muscles overlying the piriformis can cause sciatica-like symptoms.
Discomfort similar to a herniated disc
The discomfort includes stabbing or pulling pain in the buttocks, which then radiates to the thigh. In addition, you may experience numbness and tingling on your toes. Sometimes the lumbar pain can get worse when you sit for long periods.
A proper examination can help prevent unnecessary treatment. Most often, your doctor will run movement tests and simple neurological examinations.
Avoid one-sided loads
Sitting in your car for long periods or in front of a computer desk can increase the risk of sciatica. In addition, prolonged bending or lifting of heavy objects can increase the risk of pain. For some people, bad running shoes can aggravate the pain.
Unlike a herniated disc, the treatment for sciatica is more comprehensive. Your doctor examines you holistically to get the right diagnosis.
Stretching exercises can help
Targeted stretching workouts can help in loosening tense muscles. Your doctor may recommend manual therapy on the trigger points. Initially, it may be painful as your doctor works on the painful areas. Some of the tools used include special acupuncture needles to relieve the pain. Your doctor can also recommend pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs in the preliminary stage.
Is sciatica preventable?
Even though sciatica causes are unpreventable, you can avoid activities that lead to stress and subsequently adopt a balanced lifestyle. For example, if you sit all day, you can try walking or swimming exercises in the evening. Also, you can change your sitting positions regularly and get up once in a while.
It is advisable to seek treatment early before the pain worsens and becomes chronic. Contact the specialists at Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center for assessment and treatment.