Things You Need to Know About Sciatica

13 May 2019
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What is Sciatica?

Sciatica refers to the back pain caused by a problem with the sciatic nerve that extends down to the back of the thigh and to the feet.

Sciatic Nerve

Sciatic Nerve is the longest and largest nerve in the human body. It extends from the lumbar and sacral plexus down to the feet through the buttock and back of the thighs. With huge coverage, it collects and send signals to the muscle and skin of our legs.
 
 In Sciatica patients, the nerve is irritated, and various irritated signals are created to reflect sensation such as pain, tingling and numbness to different areas of the legs.

What are the Symptoms?

Sciatica is not hard to spot early on. Early treatment upon notice of symptom is crucial in healing sciatica and preventing further degeneration. The symptoms include:

·         Dull Pain 
·         Sharp Burning Pain
·         Worsening Pain When Sitting
·         Tingling and Numbness
·         Difficulty Moving Legs and Feet
·         Worsening Pain when coughing or sneezing
 
If you have the above symptom, do not too worry. Get to your nearby chiropractor and have yourself diagnosed. About 90% of patient can recover without surgery if treated during the early stage. 

What are the Causes?

 Main contributor to the symptoms is the irritation of the sciatic nerve. Healthy nerves are housed in the human spine and protected by the vertebrae. However, when our human skeletal system (bones) are out of alignment from various reason, the nerve could be pinched/compressed/irritated/inflamed. 
 
Rather than an illness itself, Sciatica is more like a warning sign to a more advanced spine/sacral plexus condition.  Below are some spinal conditions that can trigger Sciatica:

·         Herniated Disc
·         Bone Spur
·         Lumbar Sterosis
·         Irritation of Lower Spine
·         Degeneration Disc Disease
 
Who Gets Sciatica? 

Most people get sciatica after 30 years old. Women have higher risk of developing the condition, especially during pregnancy. Developing uterus may exert extra pressure on the sciatic nerve as the foetus grow.
 
 Office workers who sit long hour in front of computer with bad posture and lack of exercise are also the high risk group. As the bones accustom to the poor posture, the nerve may be pinched and inflammation may develop.
 
 Those who work requires physical labour, are also on the list of high risk group. Lifting heavy weights exerts pressure on the spines especially the lumbar. When we bend down, the pressure exerted to our lumber is 5 to 10 times of the weight carried depends on how we bent down. We have young Sciatica patients who developed the condition from bad lifting posture.
 
Complication of Sciatica

What if a sciatica patient chooses to ignore the symptom?
 
The real risk is not at whether is pain is bearable or not. When the nerve is irritated, it could indicate that a serious spinal issues is developing.  If the developing spinal condition is ignored, there is a probability that the nerve could be damaged permanently. Patient may lose bowel control, lose sense of the leg and reduced strength and motion.
 
Tips to Prevention?
 
1. Never put your wallet in your back pocket -
 Especially when you are very rich and your wallet is full of cash. When you sit down on your fat wallet, your pelvic bone will be higher on one side than another. Day after day, it will cause pelvic/lumbar misalignment and lead to Sciatica.
 
 2. Get moving – Even If you are working in an office, do move around and get some drink in the pantry after continuously working in front of computer for one hour. It mobilizes the muscles and joints of your body and get blood flowing, prevent muscle and joint degeneration. 

3. Quit Smoking -  Smokers has higher risk of getting disc degeneration diseases. Put that cigarette away and your body’s ability to self-healing will improve. It slows down disc degeneration. 
 
Lastly, if you are experiencing any of the abovementioned symptoms of sciatica, do come to Zen Chiropractic and get yourself diagnosed and treated.