Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sciatica: Associated risk and treatment

Many times, we get confused with the word sciatica and backache, and may use it alternative to each other. However, the reality is that backache is just a symptom and there is a wide list of causes which can produce backache ranging from infection, trauma, musculoskeltal, degenerative joint disease, neurogenic issues to a tumour. You can view the complete list from click here.

By now, you would certainly guess that sciatica is one of the potential causes for backache. Yes, that's right! The word sciatica refers to the pain that radiates through the sciatic nerve. Although sciatica may cause pain any anywhere in the path of sciatic nerve, but most commonly it presents as a radiating or a shooting pain from your back through your buttock to your back of leg.

As far as its causes are concerned, anything that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve may produce clinical symptoms of sciatica; few common causes are herniated disk, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis or tumor/cyst. Just for your information, these symptoms are due to compression or irritation of sciatic nerve. You can read more about it from click here.

If you visit your doctor, they may diagnose it based on your symptoms, physical finding and investigations. Usually x-ray spine or MRI/CT scan is good enough to confirm the diagnosis.

The good news is that most of the people feel better with conservative measures at home such as pain meds, rest, physical therapy and heating pad. However, if it's bothering you a lot, then you must visit your doctor for proper evaluation and investigation to conform the diagnosis. Treating the cause is a key to success and your doctor may suggest you different treatment option depending upon the severity of your symptoms. If these conservative measures are not helpful or you develop complications, your doctor may suggest you surgical options which is the last resort.

Although most of the people recover from sciatica with conservative measures, but some of them may develop complication such as numbness, muscular weakness, bladder or bowel control. If you are experiencing one of them, then you should always consider a doctor visit.

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