What Is Sciatica And How Is It Treated?

Sciatic Nerve And Lower Back Pain

According to the CDC and the American Journal of Medicine, nearly one in three adults report constant and chronic back pain, and almost 80% of all adults will have to deal with some kind of back pain throughout their lives.

We are dealing with a problem of epidemic proportions here, and unfortunately, the available solutions to help those with back pain just aren’t quite as effective as they probably could or should be for one reason or another.

A lot of back pain is caused by injuries to the lower back area, but a considerable amount of lower back pain is also caused by conditions like sciatica.

This is always a little bit surprising to people, if only because the sciatic nerve is located in the leg and not the back – which has a lot of people trying to treat areas of the body that aren’t actually contributing to the pain in the first place!

By better understanding your body, sciatica, and back pain in general (especially lower back pain) you are going to be able to come up with more effective solutions that allow you to lead a happy, healthy, and 100% back pain-free life from here on out.

Shall we dive right in?

Better understanding the link between the sciatic nerve and lower back pain

While the term sciatica is frequently used by medical professionals, doctors, and chiropractors the world over, it is not a medical diagnosis in and of itself sciatica is instead a symptom of an underlying medical condition sometimes caused by a lumbar herniated disc, degenerative disc disease throughout the spine, or spinal stenosis as well as a handful of other conditions that can cause extreme pressure to be placed on the sciatic nerve – and that’s when back pain really starts to act up.

When you’re dealing with sciatica, you’re likely to be dealing with symptoms similar to:

  • Constant and chronic pain in just one side of your leg or your buttocks
  • Pain that gets much worse while you’re sitting down than it is when you are standing on
  • Leg pain that manifests itself as a burning, tingling, or searing pain as opposed to just a numbing sensation
  • Extreme and pronounced weakness, numbness, and difficulty moving your leg, your foot, or your individual tones
  • Sharp pains that make it really difficult to stand up, walk, or move around
  • And pain that radiates down your leg, into your foot, and possibly out into your toes

These are all some of the more obvious symptoms of sciatica, but nowhere near the full list of symptoms that you may be dealing with when you are living with this condition. On top of that, you may be dealing with any or all of these symptoms all at once, consecutively, or just every now and again as well – inevitably making your life rather challenging to get through on a daily basis.

Sciatic nerve exercises that can reduce pain dramatically

Thankfully though, there are ways that you can effectively neutralize sciatic nerve by relieving the conditions that are causing sciatica in the first place.

Believe it or not, stretching your body can be one of the most effective ways to treat sciatica, as long as you go slow and steady in the early stages and slowly ramp things up until you are more aggressive in your stretching to really armor your body against this condition in the future.

While it’s always a good idea to visit with a back specialist anything that may involve causing further issues to your back or your body, the following stretches can definitely help you to “breathe” new life and new flexibility into your back and relieve a lot of the pressure in your sciatic nerve area.

A variety of different “pigeon poses” – including the reclining pigeon pose, the sitting pigeon pose, and the forward pigeon pose, are all going to effectively help you fight back against sciatica. The general gist of these movements is to bring one leg up to your chest, bending at the knee and then moving your foot over to the opposite side before leaning your upper body as far forward as possible to touch your opposing toe.

YouTube videos will help shine a little bit of extra light on the subject for you, and these movements have proven to be wonderfully effective at treating sciatica when they are practiced for between 15 minutes and 30 minutes each day.

How to treat sciatica effectively

Of course, if you’re dealing with even more debilitating sciatica issues there are a couple of other options that you have when it comes time to treat sciatica effectively.

For starters, you’re going to want to visit with your primary care physician and possibly have back x-rays or imaging done to better understand exactly what you are dealing with. You’ll want to know the underlying cause of the sciatica before you move forward with a medical treatment solution.

From there, it’s likely that your physician will recommend that you take advantage of stretching and exercise, chiropractic care (which about 60% of people with sciatica in the United States take advantage of and see major benefits and relief almost immediately), or even acupuncture practice by a clinical technician to relieve the pain and symptoms that you are dealing with.

Yoga has also proven to be wonderfully effective, as has a regular massage and the application of ice and heat on a routine basis. In some cases, over-the-counter pain relievers and muscle relaxants are going to be recommended, and in more extreme circumstances your doctor may even prescribe prescription pain pills and medications to help you better navigate daily life with this chronic pain.

Only in the most extreme cases will you see epidural steroid injection or surgery applied, though these do remain options for those living with sciatica and lower back pain that lasts for longer than a month or two.