Many people are sometimes confused about the term sciatica. So what is sciatica? Sciatica is a group of symptoms and not a condition. The most common symptoms are pain in the lower half of the body, resulting from irritation of the sciatic nerve. The pain is usually concentrated between the lower back and the back of the thigh, but can also extend to the back of the knee. Sufferers of Sciatica experience pain not only during movement, but also when not moving or undertaking any physical activity.
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body, starting at the base of the lumbar spinal cord located in the lower part of the back. The nerve runs down through the lower part of the body and the buttocks, then connecting with other nerves throughout the legs.
What are the causes?
There are a number of potential causes of sciatica, with the most common being a lumbar disc herniation. This occurs when a disc in the spine shifts from its natural place and puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing pain. However, any pressure on the sciatic nerve is likely to cause people pain, and the origin doesn’t have to be a herniated disc; internal bleeding, tumours, infections around the lumbar spine or irritation from other bones and muscles can all irritate the nerve. Equally, pregnancy can trigger sciatica symptoms.
What treatment can be offered?
Traditionally bed rest has been cited as the most helpful treatment for sciatica to give the body time to heal the irritated nerve, thus reducing the pain. We now know that activity modification and keeping moving as much as you are able without placing additional stress or strain on the nerve is the best way to get on the road to recovery.
The underlying cause of the nerve pressure and irritation can be targeted. This can be anything from light level stretching exercises to invasive surgery depending upon the root cause of the pressure.
We know how difficult it can be to manage the pain of sciatica while also trying to lead a normal life. We all need to sit and relax at some point. That’s why we developed the Sciatic Pain Relief Cushion, which is an entirely new approach to relieving sciatica pain while sitting.