Frequently Asked Questions About Sciatica

Frequently Asked Questions About Sciatica

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  • Diagnosing sciatica usually starts with simple physical tests, such as walking on your toes and rising from a squatting position. If pain develops while attempting these movements, it usually indicates sciatica
  • The duration of sciatica depends on several factors, because the condition can be acute or chronic
  • Be aware that sciatica can occur in anyone, regardless of your family’s health history

Q: What are the causes of sciatic nerve pain?

A: Your sciatic nerve starts on your lower spine, and leads all the way down into the back of your thigh and ends at the foot.1 It’s the largest nerve in your body, and it’s the very reason why sciatica can be caused by a wide variety reasons. Some of the most common include:2

Lumbar Herniated Disc: A disc in the lower area of your spine can become slipped, leading to a condition known as a herniated disc. This misalignment can pinch your sciatic nerve and cause symptoms related to sciatica.

Degenerative Disc Disease:This occurs when a spinal disc weakens and leaks proteins around the area. It causes the sciatic nerve to become irritated and inflamed.

Isthmic Spondylolisthesis:This is when a vertebra in your spine slips forward over a vertebra below it. This is commonly caused by a spinal defect or a fracture. As a result, the sciatic nerve can be hit and affected.

Piriformis Syndrome:The piriformis muscle is an important muscle located in your buttocks and is responsible for stabilizing the hip joints, enabling you to walk and maintain balance. However, certain movements can cause the muscle to accidentally pinch the sciatic nerve.

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: The spinal canal can narrow due to a variety of factors such as aging, arthritis, enlarged facet joints or the overgrowth of soft tissue. If any of these conditions occur, the sciatic nerve can be choked and cause problems.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction: The sacroiliac joint is found at the bottom of your spine, which plays a crucial role in connecting the pelvic bones. Unnatural movements can cause it to become irritated and lead to sciatica.

Q: How long does sciatica last?

A: The duration of sciatica depends on several factors, because the condition can be acute or chronic. In acute cases, the attacks can last anywhere from several days to weeks. But in chronic sciatica, the pain can last for more than three months and the pain can worsen further due to certain movements.3

Q: How is sciatica diagnosed?

A: Diagnosing sciatica usually starts with simple physical tests, such as walking on your toes and rising from a squatting position. If pain develops while attempting these movements, it usually indicates sciatica. To increase the accuracy of the findings, your doctor may also have you undergo an X-ray, a CT scan or an electromyography to look for any abnormalities that are currently affecting your sciatic nerve.4

Q: How can you relieve sciatic pain?

A: Sciatica can be treated with various home remedies such as applying hot and/or cold packs to the painful areas. Massages, physical therapy and acupuncture may also help alleviate the pain.5 In cases wherein the compressed nerve has caused significant muscle weakness and all other treatments have been unsuccessful, doctors may recommend surgery to treat the problem.6

Q: Is sciatica a hereditary disease?

A: There’s a chance sciatica can be a hereditary condition, especially if you have a parent or another relative who has developed it before.7 However, be aware that sciatica can occur in anyone, regardless of your family’s health history.8

MORE ABOUT SCIATICA

Sciatica: An Introduction

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica Causes

Sciatica Treatment

Sciatica Pain Relief

Sciatica Exercises

Sciatica Surgery

Sciatica Prevention

Sciatica During Pregnancy

Sciatica Diet

Sciatica FAQ

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