Pain caused by sciatica is felt deep inside the leg and can be incredibly crippling. Sciatica can also cause tingling, numbness or weakness in the leg or a sharp burning feeling all of which are uncomfortable. Achieving sciatica pain relief permanently involves targeting the cause of the sciatica and treating the cause, otherwise pain alleviation may only be temporary.
Sciatica refers to damage or pressure involving the sciatic nerve which is the largest nerve in the body. It runs from the bottom of the spine, through the hip joint, knee and ankle. Damage or pressure on the sciatic nerve can be caused by a variety of reasons and needs to be investigated in order for sciatica pain relief to be obtained on a permanent basis.
Temporary sciatica pain relief can involve taking anti-inflammatory medication or pain killers. In more serious cases cortisone injections may be administered. Placing hot or cold ice packs on the painful area as well resting the affected area may also be recommended to aid in reducing inflammation and help with alleviating pain.
However sciatica, which is a type of neuralgia, is often considered a symptom of a cause. Sciatica can be as a result of many things including piriformis syndrome, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, slipped or herniated disk, tumors, osteoporosis, and pregnancy among others. Many of these causes of sciatica are further caused by other factors. Each of these causes needs to be looked at carefully in order to treat sciatica and help with sciatica pain relief on a more permanent basis if the pain does not ease up.
Often physical therapists can be recommended for sciatica pain relief as they can help with stretches and strengthening exercises that may target some of the sciatica causes. Piriformis syndrome can be relieved by stretching the tense piriformis muscle and strengthening the surrounding gluteal muscles to give the hip area support, taking strain off the piriformis muscle and ultimately the sciatic nerve.
When sciatica is caused by back problems such as a herniated disk or spondylolisthesis, strengthening the muscles in the lower back will help relieve any pressure on the sciatic nerve which has been placed on it due to weakness in the back. A herniated disk refers to when a disk in the back has slipped or pushed on to the muscle from straining the back, a sports injury or moving in an unusual way. Spondylolisthesis refers to a vertebra slipping onto another vertebra. Physical therapists may also recommend massaging around the area where the cause of the sciatica is to relieve muscle tension, which may also aid sciatica pain relief.
In more extreme cases of sciatica when the pain can not be kept at bay and someone suffers from it continuously, surgery may be considered as a way to treat the cause of the sciatica. If spinal stenosis is the cause, which refers to a narrowing of the spinal canal, surgery may be a way to physically take pressure off the spinal cord and ultimately the lower back, relieving pressure on the sciatic nerve and promoting sciatica pain relief.
Surgery may also be used to physically loosen the pirformis muscle, undoing its hold on the sciatic nerve as well as repairing the vertebra that has slipped onto another vertebra in the case of spondylolisthesis. It may also be a way to remove a possible tumor, which could be pushing on the sciatic nerve. However surgery would be a last resort as a means of alleviating sciatica pain and help with sciatica pain relief.
Sciatica pain relief can be achieved temporarily with painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication as well as hot packs and ice packs. However if the pain increases, it is recommended that you consult your physician immediately to locate the cause of the sciatica and target it to achieve ultimate sciatica pain relief.