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Sciatic nerve is the longest and thickest nerve in the human body; it runs from the lumbar spine down to the feet. Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.

Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disk or a bone spur on the spine compresses part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.

Although the pain associated with sciatica can be severe, most cases resolve with physiotherapist treatments in a few weeks.

Cause of sciatica

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, usually by a herniated disk in your spine or by an overgrowth of bone (bone spur) on your vertebrae. Sometimes the nerve can be compressed by a tumor or damaged by a disease such as diabetes.

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

Leg and foot pain. Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg.

Numbness or tingling. People who have sciatica often experience numbness or tingling in the body part served by the affected nerves.

Weakness. Muscles served by the affected nerves tend to weaken. This may cause you to stumble, or impair your ability to lift or hold items.

Sciatica may potentially cause permanent nerve damage, this cause patient loss of feeling in the affected leg and might also cause loss of bowel or bladder function.

Risk Factors

  • Age- Age-related changes in the spine, such as herniated disks and bone spurs, are the most common causes of sciatica.
  • Obesity- By increasing the stress on your spine, excess body weight may contribute to the spinal changes that trigger sciatica.
  • Occupation- A job that requires you to twist your back, carry heavy loads or drive a motor vehicle for long periods may play a role in sciatica.
  • Prolonged sitting- People who sit for prolonged periods are more likely to develop sciatica than active people.
  • Diabetes- Diabetes affects the way your body uses blood sugar, increases your risk of nerve damage.

How does physiotherapist treat with my sciatica?

When you begin your treatment, our physiotherapist a will give you tips on how to properly sit and stand and how to do your activities without putting extra strain on your hip muscles. Other than that, our physiotherapist may perform:

  • Heat to increase blood circulation and relax the muscles of the affected area
  • Electrical current, ultrasound , shock wave will help to reduce inflammation .
  • Flexion and traction technique- Use flexion and traction therapy to the spine to different direction to speed up recovery.

Exercise for Sciatica

Strengthening core muscles can help alleviate sciatic pain and prevent it from coming back in the future. A core workout will strengthen the abs, lower back, hips, and thighs. These muscles help support the spine, making a slipped disc less likely.

Trunk Curl: Trunk Curl strengthen the abdominal muscles.

  1. Keep the knees bent and the lower back flat on the floor while raising the shoulders up 3 - 6 inches.
  2. Exhale on the way up, and inhale on the way down.
  3. Perform this exercise slowly five times with the arms across the chest.

Pelvic Tilt. The pelvic tilt alleviates tight or fatigued lower back muscles.

  • Lie on the back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Tighten the buttocks and abdomen so that they tip up slightly.
  • Press the lower back to the floor, hold for one second, and then relax.
  • Be sure to breathe evenly.

Each set of these exercise should be repeated five times per set and three sets per day, this could strengthen and stretch your back muscle group.

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