Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit a doctor’s office. If that pain radiates through your hips and buttocks, down your leg, it is a good chance that you experience sciatica pain.

Sciatica symptoms can range from mild to very intense, but the good news is that most cases can resolve without surgery. Read on to learn what causes sciatica and what you can do to alleviate pain and other symptoms.

Sciatica Symptoms

The most common symptom of sciatica is pain that originates in your lower back and radiates down the back of your leg. The most problematic areas are usually calves, thigs, buttocks, and lumbar spine.

People with sciatica usually feel pain in one side of the body. They can experience mild aches, sharp pain, burning sensations, jolts, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness. Sometimes, people experience two or more symptoms in different parts of their leg. For instance, they may feel burning in their foot and pain in their calf and thigh.

Certain activities such as prolonged sitting or standing seem to worsen the symptoms. The pain can also become more intense with a sudden movement, like when you sneeze or cough. 

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica occurs when something causes irritation, inflammation, or compression of the sciatic nerve. This nerve is the longest in our body, and it runs from your lower back to your feet.

Sciatica is typically caused by another condition such as:

  • Herniated disk
  • Bone spur overgrowth
  • Lumbar stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Muscle spasms
  • Degenerative disc disease

In rare instances, certain conditions can damage the sciatic nerve. That includes tumors, diabetes, and blood clots. Sciatica can also develop after a fall, sports injury, or car accident.

What Are the Risk Factors for Sciatica

Some things increase the chances of developing sciatica. That includes:

  • Older age
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Lack of a strong core
  • Poor posture
  • Having diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • A sedentary lifestyle with a lack of activity
  • Very demanding physical jobs
  • Pregnancy

How Is Sciatica Pain Treated?

Most cases of sciatica pain are acute and resolve within four to six weeks. They usually require mild intervention, and surgery is rarely needed. 

The most common treatments are:

  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections
  • Neurostimulation therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Percutaneous discectomy

However, the first line of defense is usually over-the-counter pain medications. Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs are the most common, as they can reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling. 

Doctors also recommend applying ice or cold packs to reduce the pain and swelling. In addition, gentle stretches and low-impact exercises can help people relieve discomfort and strengthen core muscles, which is vital for long-term pain management.

Where to Get Adequate Treatment for Sciatica Pain?

Sciatica is easy to diagnose, but you need a proper treatment plan to get rid of sciatica pain. You can get it at Progressive Pain and Rehabilitation, where Dr. Edward Nash and his team of experts will create a personalized recovery plan that will help you get rid of the pain for good. Click here to schedule an appointment.