Lumbar Radiculopathy, or as it is the most commonly known sciatica, is a prevalent ailment. It happens when the nerve that starts from the lower back and extends down the buttocks till your leg is pinched.The pinching causes a severe pain which you can experience as a pain that radiates down the leg to your toes.
Sciatica tends to happen in the lower body and only on one side. It begins as a dull, annoying twinge, but if not treated, the pain keeps on worsening until it becomes debilitating.
What Causes Sciatica?
Some of the most common reasons sciatica pain arises are:
- Repeated muscle spasm.
- Slip disc, also known as spondylolisthesis.
- Any damage to the discs of the vertebrae.
- Narrowing of the spinal canal, also known as Lumbar spinal stenosis.
Besides these medical reasons, some other conditions can lead to sciatica:
- Too much weight.
- Wrong shoes or too high heels.
- No exercise or physical activity.
- An uncomfortable mattress on the bed.
What Are The Symptoms Of Sciatica?
There is a difference between normal leg pain and sciatica. These are the symptoms to look for in Lumbar Radiculopathy.
- Numbing of the foot
- Pain in the lower back
- Ache in just one buttock
- Localised ache in the hip
- Problem in moving the foot
- Shooting ache when you rise
- A radiating ache in the backside of the leg
- Tingling sensation or burning in the backside of the leg
How Is Sciatica Diagnosed?
A physical examination is conducted to assess the strength of the back muscle and find the precise location of the pain by an orthopaedic specialist. To further evaluate the damage to the bone or soft tissue and find the cause of the ache, the following imaging test may be done:
- CT Scan
How Is Sciatica Treated?
If the sciatica pain is mild, one of these treatments is used:
- Medication like anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxants
- RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Exercise)
If the sciatica pain is severe, then a more extended treatment plan is required. All the above steps are used along with a rehabilitation program. The rehab centre would utilise physical therapy to treat the pain with exercises for:
- Posture correcting
- Back muscle strengthening
- Increasing flexibility.
In some cases, steroid injections may be given to reduce the severity of pain. Surgery is the last resort when it comes to treating sciatica. This route is taken when the pinched nerve causes trouble with bladder or bowel control. An operation may also be conducted if all other treatments fail to resolve pain. In such cases, the bone spur that is compressing the nerve is removed.
What To Do To Prevent Sciatica?
Exercise regularly, maintain healthy body weight, ensure the posture is correct when sitting or standing, always wear comfortable shoes, and bend your knees when picking up something heavy.