Leg Pain Due to Sciatic Nerve Irritation
When the sciatic nerve is either inflamed or compressed, leg pain occurs. This pain normally radiates from the lower back down to the affected leg. The causes of nerve compression can be slipped disk and increased muscle tension as in the case of Piriformis syndrome. It and can rarely occur due to infectious diseases, tumors or abnormal bony growths too.
Sciatic leg pain may come in different levels of severity and is classified into acute and chronic types.
Sciatic pain is considered acute when it is mostly due to vertebral disk herniation or injury of soft tissues including sprains of muscles and connective tissues like tendons and ligaments. This pain's severity has a direct association with the degree of tissue damage and usually recedes after a number of days or weeks. This sciatic pain is also known as acute mechanical back pain as it originates from the spinal joints, vertebral column or soft tissues.
Chronic sciatic pain may last up to three months or more. This normally recurs from time to time and is aggravated by bad posture, poor body mechanics and certain strenuous activities. Effects of arthritis, tissue scarring, neurological changes, or even psychological aspects of pain can help trigger this type of sciatic pain.
As mentioned earlier, sciatic pain can result due to several factors. Herniated nucleus pulposus, commonly called prolapsed intervertebral disc or slipped disk, is among the most prevalent causes. It may also be brought about by other causes including:
* Lumbar spinal stenosis - a condition that results when the spinal canal in the lower back is constricted
* Osteoarthritis and other degenerative skeletal disorders that lead to the collapse of the discs protecting the vertebrae from rubbing one another
* Spondylolisthesis - a condition wherein a lower vertebral disc slips forward and onto a bone below it.
* Obesity, using high-heeled shoes, insufficient exercise and lying on extremely soft mattress may also lead to sciatic pain Sciatic leg pain is manifested mainly by pain in the lower back, buttock, thigh and leg. It may be quite severe and intolerable for some patients, and may aggravate over time. Symptoms prevalently seen in sciatic pain cases include: * Back or leg pain which is aggravated by sitting
* Burning and tingling sensation in the leg
* Leg may feel numb, weak and difficult to move
* Rising can be problematic due to intense pain in the leg
This pain can be felt from the lower portion of the back radiating to the thigh and down to the leg. The involvement of the feet and toes depends on the location of the affected sciatic nerve.
To diagnose and treat the problem properly, a thorough medical checkup is necessary. Diagnostic procedures for sciatic pain include physical examination and medical history assessment as well as definitive tests like x-rays, CT scan, MRI , discogram and myelography.
Sciatic pain treatment includes personal care, physical therapy, traction, acupuncture and chiropractic techniques. Proper exercise and massage may also help. Your pain may be alleviated by prescription drugs like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) which include ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen. These drugs reduce pain and inflammation. Steroid medications can also effectively treat swollen and inflamed nerves. Sciatic pain may be addressed by surgical operations like discectomy and laminectomy of the lumbar spine.