Sciatica

Sciatica is a condition of the lower back which causes pain that usually refers down one side of your legs.  It is caused when the Sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body that runs in the back of the legs become irritated.
Anatomy of the back
In order to understand Sciatica you must understand the anatomy of the spine and the relationship between the vertebra, the discs and the nerve root. ach vertebra is rigid and thick to protect the spinal cord however the spine is not one solid column. 
 
The spine is broken down into segments known as vertebra otherwise it would be one thick column which would not produce movement (conditions such as ankylosing spondylosis causes the spine to become more stiff like a solid column). Each vertebra sits on a disc which acts to separate the vertebra and allow fluidity of movement. The disc also has other roles such as increasing hydration and acts as a shock absorber.
Causes of Sciatica
Sometimes the disc can budge and cause and press and irritate the nerves in this case the sciatic nerve (see below). As this happens the signals down the nerve gets disturbed leading to difficulty walking, loss of sensation, muscle spasms pins & needles and numbness, muscle weakness, referred pain usually down the buttocks, back of leg, back of calves and heel
Risk factors
  • Age 
  • Accident
  • injuries during sports
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
Treatment
Physiofriend helps people with sciatica manage and resolve their pain through a range of manual therapy techniques such as massage, spinal mobilisations, postural advice and education, and pain management.
 
 Time Scale
Usually symptoms disappear within 4-6 weeks time however can take longer.
Drugs
NSAIDs (Non Sterioidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs)- Back pain is the way your body tells you that there is damaged structured such as muscles and ligament. With damage to structures inflammation can cause heightened sensitivity and more pain. NSAIDs such as ibuprofen can be used to reduce the inflammation.
 
Corticosteriod injections- These are injected into the area of pain and can help to reduce back pain.
Surgery
Discectomy- This is a surgical procedure which involves cutting part of the disc which is causing pressure on the nerves.
 

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