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What is sciatica?

what is sciatica?

  • What is sciatica?
  • Frequent symptoms
  • Causes
  • Risk factor’s
  • Complications
  • Prevention
  • Treatment
  • Lifestyle and home remedies
  • Alternative medicine
  • Visit the doctor

what is sciatica?

What is sciatica?

The name of sciatica is given to the pain syndrome that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve. This pain spreads from the lower back through the hips, buttocks, and down each leg. Sciatica usually affects only one side of the body.

Sciatica occurs when a part of the sciatic nerve is compressed by a herniated disc, a bone spur in the spine, or a narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis).

Many cases are relieved in a few weeks or months with treatments that do not require surgery. But some severe cases that usually cause weakness in one leg or changes in the bowel or bladder, are the cases that could require surgery.

sciatica frequent symptoms

Frequent symptoms

Patients refer to this pain as severe pain, sometimes disabling, they also refer to tingling or numbness that is produced by irritation of the nerve roots that lead to the sciatic nerve.

Usually, sciatic pain is distinguished by starting in the lower spine and spreads to the buttocks and down the back of the leg. Patients feel discomforts almost anywhere the nerve passes, especially in the lower back, buttocks, and the back of the thighs and calf.

The pain can range from mild to disabling or a burning sensation. Sometimes it can feel like shaking or electric shock. The pain may be aggravated by coughing or sneezing. Even sitting for a long time can aggravate symptoms. Another distinctive feature of sciatica is that these complaints usually affect only one side of the body.

Some people also have numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. You could feel pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another part.

sciatica causes


Pressure on the sciatic nerve is the main cause of this suffering. Herniated discs cause these punctures most of the time. But structural problems or an injury from a long-ago Can cause Sciatic nerve pain too.

Sciatic pain can become chronic if after 2-4 weeks of treatment there is no improvement.

The main causes of sciatic pain are:

  • Herniated disc
  • Annular tear
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Facet joint, arthropathy,
  • Compression of the sciatic nerve of the piriformis muscle
  • Diseases such as arthritis and scoliosis

Causes that can alter the sciatic nerve and cause pain:

  • Sudden cold
  • Toxic, infectious or metabolic diseases
  • Alcoholism
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Injuries to the nerve itself
  • Misplaced injectables
  • Pregnancy
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Tumors
  • Sitting too long.

sciatica risk factors

Risk Factors

  • Sports

A disc injury is common when playing sports because the vast majority of sports use twisting and bending mechanisms. Young people who play sports are at higher risk of herniated discs, which can lead to sciatica.

  • Age

There is always a relationship between age and spine changes. Disc degeneration is more common in adults and the elderly. Over time this can cause herniated discs.

  • Over-weight

Excess weight increases pressure on the spine. The changes that this generates in the spine favor the appearance of sciatica.

  • Sedentary Lifestyle

Sitting for long periods or leading a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to develop sciatica.

  • Diabetes

This condition affects the way the body uses blood and this increases damage to the nerves.

sciatica complications


Attention! Some cases of sciatic pain can cause permanent damage to the nerves.

Seek immediate medical attention if you have the following symptoms:

  • Loss of sensation in the affected leg
  • Weakness in the affected leg
  • Impaired bowel or bladder function

sciatica prevention


It is not always possible to prevent sciatica, and many times this condition can reappear. These preventive measures can play a fundamental role in protecting your back:

  • Doing exercise regularly. Keeping your back strong is essential to a good posture and alignment.
  • Take care of your posture every time. Choose your seat with lumbar support and armrests. Tip: To keep the normal spine curvature, place a pillow or a rolled towel in your lower back. Keep your knees and hips aligned too.

If you’re standing for a long time, put one foot on a stool or small box when needed.

When you lift heavy stuff, keep your back straight and let your legs do the work. Your back must be straight every time. Hold the heavy thing close to your body. Avoid lifting the object and turning your body at the same time. Seek help to lift the object if it is too heavy or difficult to carry. 

sciatica treatment


Many times taking a few steps in self-care is enough, but when they do not relieve pain, the doctor may recommend:


Prescription medications to treat sciatica pain may include the following:

  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Tranquilizers

Once the acute pain subsides, your doctor or physical therapist can design a rehabilitation program to help you prevent future injuries. Generally, the program includes exercises to correct posture, strengthen the muscles that support the back, and improve flexibility.


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  • Steroid Injections
Your doctor may recommend an injection of a corticosteroid in the area around the affected nerve root. Corticosteroids help reduce pain by eliminating inflammation around the irritated nerve. The medicine usually stops working within a few months. However, corticosteroids can have serious side effects, so it is not recommended to give the injections too often.

This option is usually reserved for when the compressed nerve causes significant weakness and loss of bowel or bladder control, or when pain progressively worsens or does not decrease with other therapies. Surgeons can remove the bone spur or the part of the herniated disc that puts pressure on the pinched nerve.

sciatica lifestyle

 Lifestyle and home remedies

Resting for a day can relieve pain, but increasing the rest period can be counterproductive, so it is recommended to lead an active life and do physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day. You can also take some over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium.

Some home remedies like these can help in relieving sciatic pain:

  • Cold compresses. For the first day or two, apply a cold compress several times a day for 20 minutes to the area where you feel pain. Tip. Wrap the cold compresses in a thin towel to avoid damaging the skin.
  • Hot compresses. After two or three days, apply heat to the areas that hurt. Use warm compresses. If you continue to feel pain, try alternating hot and cold compresses.
  • Cordus and Sacrus. They are non-invasive methods that can be used in the comfort of a room at home or an office. If you are currently undergoing any treatment, you can supplement it with CORDUS for better results and avoid additional expenses.
  • Stretching. Stretching exercises for the lower back can help you feel better and may ease nerve root compression. Avoid jerking, jumping, or twisting during the stretch, and try to hold the position for at least 30 seconds.

sciatica alternative medicine

Alternative medicine

Alternative therapies commonly used to treat lower back pain include:

  • Acupuncture. According to some studies, acupuncture help with treatments to relieve back pain. If you decide to try acupuncture, opt for a licensed acupuncturist to make sure they are extensively trained.
  • Chiropractic therapy. Chiropractors use spinal adjustment, among other therapies, to treat a spine with reduced mobility. The main goals are to regain movement in the spine and to improve function and decrease pain.

Spinal manipulation appears to be effective and safe as a standard treatment for lower back pain, BUT it may NOT be suitable for already widespread pain.

  • Cordus and Sacrus. Devices with Russian technology, created to relieve and Correct different problems of the spine to AVOID SURGERY. Unlike chiropractic Cordus and Sacrus remove spasms in the deepest muscles of the spine, these spasms cause most back conditions, which NEITHER massage therapists NOR chiropractors can reach with their fingers.

sciatica doctor

Visit the doctor

Not all people with sciatica need medical attention. But in the case of severe symptoms or when the pain has been felt for more than a month, ask for a consultation with a general practitioner.

We recommend you

write down your symptoms and the date they started.

Make a list of the disorders or diseases you have and the names of the medications, vitamins, or supplements you take.

Write down recent accidents or injuries that may have damaged your back.

Write down questions to ask your doctor to make the most of your visit time.

Specialties that treat this condition

  • Spine care
  • Neurology
  • Orthopedics