Generally, sciatica is not a serious problem, but the discomfort can make it disabling. Learn how to avoid it.
THE sciatica pain or sciatica refers to a condition or symptom that is quite common today, and can affect men and women over 20 years of age.
The sciatic nerve is of great importance, as it enables the movements of the leg muscles and gives sensitivity to the lower limbs. Get to know the main symptoms and treatments associated with sciatica pain.
Sciatica: causes, symptoms and treatment
At the root of sciatica pain is compression, inflammation or damage to the sciatic nerve. This pain can be more or less intense and reach part or all of the entire nerve. It is important to say that the sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body, starting at the back of the pelvis, running through the back of the thigh and leg and ending at the big toe.
Causes and risk factors
Sometimes, this pain may be based on postural errors, excessive loads and sudden and uncontrolled movements. However, sciatica pain can also be associated with other problems such as herniated discstenosis, piriform muscle syndrome, tumors, osteoarthritis and spondylolisthesis (vertebral misalignment).
Sciatica pain is fundamentally characterized by discomfort in the lumbar area that can radiate to one of the legs. This is usually a sharp, sharp pain that affects only one of the buttocks or legs.
In addition to pain, there may be other manifestations, such as a tingling/burning sensation or numbness and muscle weakness. In more severe cases, sciatica pain can become disabling as it can limit leg movement.
In most situations, sciatica pain disappears after a few days or weeks (4 to 8), and can be alleviated by taking analgesics, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants.
In addition, it is important to rest as much as possible; avoid movements or efforts that aggravate the pain; alternate the application of hot and cold compresses; and do stretching exercises.
In more severe or persistent cases (when the pain does not go away after 6 to 12 weeks), it is important to make a thorough diagnosis, consulting a doctor, in order to determine the cause of the pain.
For this, it is important to carry out a physical examination and complementary diagnostic tests (such as MRI) recommended by the expert. About 10% to 20% of situations may require surgery.
How to prevent sciatica pain
There are measures that can help prevent sciatica, as they protect the spine while avoiding some risk factors. Take note:
- to practice physical exercise regularly, in order to control weight and increase the flexibility and resistance of the muscles, thus reducing the risk of compression of the sciatic nerve;
- maintain a correct posture, that is, sit with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor; avoid crossing your legs; and take short breaks to stretch your legs and change positions;
- be careful when lifting weights, bending your knees and not your back;
- carrying objects on the waist line;
- unlevel your feet, if you’ve been standing for a long time;
- sleeping on an ergonomic mattress with a comfortable pillow for the neck area;
- do not smoketo prevent rapid degeneration of spinal discs.