Hey, folks! Do you have a pain that just is? You know–you don’t know what it’s called or what is causing it, just that it was there one day and now it’s made an unwelcome home in your life?
I think, at one time, we all have those pains, especially when it comes to our backs. One common condition that many people have is sciatica, although they might not realize that’s what it is.
As explained by the Mayo Clinic, sciatica is discomfort that is in the lower back or hip that goes down into your backside and along the back part of your leg right to your foot (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/symptoms-causes/syc-20377435). It comes from some sort of issue with your sciatic nerve–these two nerves are the longest in your body–such as a pinch or compression due to strain or an injury. A herniated back disc can also cause sciatica by pressing on the nerve.
This condition can cause a lot of symptoms. You might feel as if you have a leg cramp that gets worse when you sneeze, sit or cough. It can cause numbness or burning in the legs and muscle weakness. Loss of bladder or bowel control is a rare but known serious complication of sciatica, so if you experience this, seek emergency treatment right away.
Fortunately, sciatica tends to go away on its own after a few weeks, although some people will experience it more than once, depending on the cause and whether that cause has been addressed, if possible. If you have this condition, there are some treatment options that can help ease your discomfort.
A study review published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine medical journal found that acupuncture, for example, was effective in treating sciatica pain (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4575738/#). To find a trained and licensed acupuncturist near your home, use the provider search on the official website of the The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. Yoga, in certain forms, may also help, as noted by Healthline (https://www.healthline.com/health/yoga-for-sciatica). Therapeutic yoga can help stretch and strengthen back muscles, which might contributing to your sciatica.
In some cases, back surgery for a herniated disc may relieve your sciatica, but this is usually a last-resort option because it’s invasive and does come with risks. If you have severe sciatica that has been going on nonstop for months, be sure to speak to your doctor about it.