Nervous System


It is numbness and sharp pain that occurs in the lower back and spreads to the back of the thigh all the way to the leg. Due to compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve root (a nerve that runs from the lower back to the bottom of the feet), this is often a chronic condition that is managed with the use of analgesics to control pain and anti-inflammatory drugs. The pain is worse when twisting, bending, or coughing.

Sciatica results when the nerve root in the spine is compressed which usually occurs due to a herniated disc in people under the age of 40, while the elderly usually suffer from sciatica due to bone spurs and arthritis.

  • Sharp pain and cramping in the leg or the feeling of electricity intensifies during sneezing, coughing or moving.
  • The pain spreads from the lower back to the back of the thigh to the leg.
  • Weakness, numbness, or a burning or tingling sensation in the lower leg.
When to see a doctor:
  • If the pain is severe and gets worse as it continues for more than several weeks.
  • If the pain is in both legs.
  • Feeling pain after an injury (eg: a fall or a traffic accident).
  • When the pain hinders normal daily activities.
  • Having trouble urinating.
  • Weakness or numbness in both legs that is severe or getting worse.
  • Feeling of numbness around or under the genitals, or around the anus.
  • Not feeling the need to defecate or lack of control.
  • Increased pain over time
  • Loss of muscle strength in the affected leg
  • Loss of bowel and/or bladder function
  • Permanent nerve damage
Non-surgical treatment: The condition usually heals itself, given enough time and rest for the body. The patient may need pain management such as:
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (eg: ibuprofen, aspirin, or muscle relaxants).
  • Using cold or hot compresses for painful muscles.
  • Doing stretching exercises; To return to physical activities without pain, as the doctor may ask to walk short distances.
  • It is important to continue moving as much as possible, while limiting excessive bending or twisting, and to search for comfortable positions, as movement helps reduce inflammation.
  • The doctor may have to inject the spine with cortisone.
Most of the time the condition will improve after a few weeks of non-surgical treatment.

Surgical treatment: The patient may need surgery after 3 months or more of non-surgical treatment.

Sciatica cannot always be prevented, but steps can be taken to protect the back and reduce the risk by:
  • Do regular physical activity.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Sit in a correct and sound position.
  • Avoid standing for long periods.
  • Maintain a straight back and bend the knees when carrying heavy objects and ask for help when needed.
  • Avoid lifting and turning at the same time.
Guidelines for sciatica sufferers:
  • Use hot or cold compresses for comfort and to reduce inflammation.
  • Avoid irritating activities or prolonged sitting/standing.
  • Do regular light exercise (such as walking, swimming, or hydrotherapy).

Last Update : 20 August 2023 12:28 PM
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