What Is Sciatica?
If you are feeling pain running from your lower back down to your buttocks and to your legs, you may already have a condition that is called sciatic nerve pain, or pinched nerve in the lower spine, or simply sciatica.
The sciatic nerve is the body's largest nerve. It extends from the spinal cord down to the back of the legs and ending at the foot. This explains why if it gets pinched or irritated, pain shoots all over the back and lower extremities. Some experience numbness in the affected parts which may become extremely painful when directed to sudden movement, while others report excruciating pain that leave them practically immobile for days.
What Causes Sciatica?
To treat this condition, it is important to understand the causes of it. Some of the common causes of sciatic nerve pain are herniated disc, spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease.
Herniated disc or slipped disc usually occurs when one makes a sudden twisting motion or when the back is subordinated to a forceful blow or impact, as in the case of vehicular accidents. Sciatic nerve pain is the most common symptom of a slipped disc and may need serious attention.
Another cause of sciatic nerve pain is spinal stenosis or the narrowing of the spinal canal which restricts the spinal cord. People aged 60 and above are sooner to getting this condition. Another age-related cause of sciatic nerve pain is degenerative disc disease. This occurs when a weakened disc along the spinal cord results in excessive minute movements that expose inflammatory proteins that irritate the sciatic nerve roots.
Pain Relief for Sciatica
A gentle exercise such as Pilates warms up and strengthens the back and abdominal muscles that support the spinal cord. Pilates targeted towards these muscle groups prevents tightening which contribute to pinched sciatic nerve. Regular Pilates helps you recover more quickly and may prevent future sciatic episodes from flaring up.
Rest in this case means minimizing movements and avoiding carrying heavy objects. Lying on the bed, unless it is flat and hard, is a no-no because the cushion only aggravates the pinched nerve. Complete bed rest is not recommended. If you have to sit, use a chair with a well supported back. Remember to take everything slowly and carefully, and do not do anything – sitting, standing, or walking for too long.
Use Heat Pad Or Take Warm Shower
Applying heat is a great sciatic nerve pain relief. Adjust your heating pad to low or medium heat then use on affected part for 15 to 20 minutes every 3 hours. You may take a warm shower as an alternative to a cycle of the heat pad.
If the sciatic nerve pain lasts more than a month and if the pain has become intolerable, you may have to see a pain relief specialist who is well versed in anatomy of the body and can perform a combination of myofascial release as well as Pilates exercises that can provide pain relief.