Sciatic Nerve Pain
The sciatic nerve is almost 3 feet long and it goes from the bottom of your spine down the back of your leg, right down to the tips of your toes. It is the biggest nerve in your body. Sciatica pain is most often caused by a bulging disk.
As the disk bulges it can cause irritation of the sciatic nerve, which causes the pain. People can actually have bulging disks and not experience any pain, but when there is pain, it can be quite extreme. The pain runs through your buttocks and down the back of your thigh. The pain only occurs on one side of your body.
People are frequently misdiagnosed and back pain is often labeled as sciatica. In reality, there are many other conditions that can cause back and leg pain. It is only sciatica if the sciatic nerve is actually irritated. If the nerve is not irritated it is some other condition.
Your doctor can perform tests to determine if your pain is actually sciatica or something else. It is important to get the problem accurately diagnosed quickly in order to provide the proper treatment.
Anyone who has ever suffered from sciatica knows how excruciating this pain can be. If you have sciatica the only thing on your mind is to find a way to relieve sciatic nerve pain.
Prescription drugs to relieve pain are expensive, can have potentially dangerous side effects, and may even be addictive. And if you don't relieve the underlying problem you will suffer from continual pain and discomfort. You won't be able to stay on the pills forever… And then what?
It is always better to get the proper diagnosis and treatment for your pain, by addressing the cause and not just relieving the symptoms. It is better to fix the problem than to simply alleviate the pain with dangerous medication.
Many people would rather find natural forms of pain relief and prevention instead of using drugs that just mask the pain but don't do anything to cure the problem.
Keeping your muscles flexible and strong with exercise can help prevent and alleviate sciatica. Also any low impact activities such as walking and swimming can help by increasing blood circulation. Riding a bike will increase circulation too, but you must be careful that the seated position does not irritate the sciatic nerve.
A better option for many sciatica sufferers is to use various physical therapy exercises to help reduce or prevent pain. Many people have had great success in keeping sciatica pain to a minimum by performing stretching, yoga, pilates, or a combination of all three into their daily routine.
The stretching exercises will help keep your muscles loose and increase the amount of space in between each vertebra. Stretching back, buttock, and leg muscles can relieve sciatica. Stretching the psoas muscle is very important too.
Many health care professionals also recommend exercises to strengthen the lower back muscles. The idea is to form a 'muscular girdle' that will help keep your discs in proper alignment. And the exercise will provide the added benefit of improving your overall health.
Please remember that there are many different ways to relieve sciatic nerve pain. Find one or more, methods that work for you. Your body and mind will thank you!
Karen Goeller, CSCS
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