Sciatic pain deals with the discomfort found at the lower back, wherein a nerve root connecting to the so-called sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed. Add to that, it causes weakness, numbness and a tingling sensation in the area from the back of the leg, all the way up to the lower back area. Patients can handle such pain much better if they can understand its symptoms, causes, diagnosis as well as treatments.
Sciatic Pain Symptoms
The pain associated with this kind of medical condition is described as debilitating and severe. At the same time, it can also be irritating and very difficult to handle. Some of its symptoms are considered medical emergencies, particularly when patients experience bowel dysfunction and bladder incontinence. In addition, it is also to consult the doctor right away in case they experience a progressive weakness of the legs. These are signs of cauda equina syndrome, which is one of the major causes of sciatic pain.
Causes of Sciatic Pain
Amongst the numerous causes of this chronic pain, the most common are spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease and lumbar herniated disc. In addition, spinal stenosis also causes this kind of stabbing pain, which usually affects the upper, lower, left and right portions of the affected area. Most of the times, it is accompanied by a tingling sensation and a shooting pain. Other possible causes include infections, internal bleeding and tumors. Injury as well as nerve irritation can also cause sharp pain somewhere within the lower back of patients.
Sciatic Pain Diagnosis
There are many ways to diagnose sciatic pain successfully. Using tests like electromyogram, magnetic resonance imaging and CAT scan are highly efficient in determining the cause of this dull pain. Of course, x-rays also produce reliable results. As part of the diagnosis, patients will have to disclose their medical history. After that, they will have to undergo a physical exam.
Sciatic Pain Relief
Aside from surgery, patients can be relieved from the discomforts and pain of this medical condition with the help of these non-surgical treatments. They can soothe the pain using ice and heat packs. Pain medications are very much available as well, particularly non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like COX-2 inhibitors, naproxen and ibuprofen. Meanwhile, oral steroids are proven effective in limiting the inflammation. In addition to these prescription and over-the-counter drugs, patients can also try epidural steroid injections.
Moreover, alternative treatments are also available for pain sufferers. These include exercise and physical therapy, manual manipulation and massage therapy. Acupuncture is also a good choice, which was recognized by the United States National Institutes of Health and approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.