What is it?
Sciatica is the name given to any sort of pain caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It runs from the back of your pelvis, through your buttocks, and all the way down both legs, ending at your feet. The pain of sciatica is usually felt in the buttocks and legs. Most people find it goes away naturally within a few weeks, although some cases can last for a year or more.
What are the symptoms?
Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. You might feel the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it’s especially likely to follow a path from your low back to your buttock and the back of your thigh and calf.The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating pain. Sometimes it can feel like a jolt or electric shock. It can be worse when you cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms. Usually only one side of your body is affected. Some people also have numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. You might have pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another part.
- Improve your posture to prevent strain and loss of flexibility.
- Improve muscle tone by regular exercise.
- Sleep on a firm mattress.
- Ice application to painful area may relieve the pain.
- Consult a doctor for prolonged or severe symptoms.
- Avoid any sudden, jerky movement of the back.
- Do not bend but kneel to pick up things from the floor.
- Cut down on fats and carbohydrates.
Things to watch out for
Sciatica often improves naturally within around six weeks. GP may recommend treatments such as medication and physiotherapy.