Sciatica is a symptom and not a condition in its own right. It is pain from the sciatic nerve, most commonly caused by irritation of the spinal nerve root(s) in the lower back often referred to as the lumbar region.
The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the body. Several nerves join together to form the sciatic nerve in the buttock, which then runs all the way down the leg to the foot.
Sciatica most commonly causes pain in the buttocks and legs, especially when sitting down, but pain can be experienced anywhere from the lower back to the foot.
People over the age of 40 are most likely to suffer from sciatica, and it can range in severity, from annoying to excruciating and debilitating. Unfortunately the older we are the more likely we are to experience sciatic pain symptoms. In our experience older people are the most likely to get sciatic pain symptoms
Although seniors are more likely to experience sciatic pain, younger to middle aged people are afflicted in greater numbers having significant impact in their working and social lives. Sciatica can be debilitating for younger or middle aged people who have jobs where sitting is unavoidable in say an office environment and this is particularly the case where driving is involved and you do not have the ability to get up and walk around.
Around 50% of pregnant women get pregnancy related low back pain. Some of this is standard lumbar pain that may lead to sciatic pain symptoms, but more is related to pelvic girdle pain (PGP).
Recovery can take up to six weeks and there’s no quick-fix solution. If the sciatic pain goes beyond six weeks it can take several months to recover and in rare cases can lead to chronic pain. Healing is not always easy, and for many the pain can be difficult to manage without the right help and reassurance.
If it’s not properly managed sciatica can begin to impair your quality of life and lead to mood swings, depression and a sense of hopelessness. Pain medication can help to manage the pain, but these alone cannot help you to heal and can spiral into increasing levels of dependence. Fortunately, there are many simple and effective ways of managing the condition and the road to recovery. It’s a matter of finding the right approach for you.
Treatment for Sciatica
Treatment will depend on the severity of your condition. In nearly all cases you will be recommended some exercise therapy. If the pain is severe then you may be given pain relieving medication, but these will not help your sciatic nerve to heal.