What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition characterized by nerve pain in the region of the lower back, buttocks and hips, and the outer sides and backs of the thighs. The pain ranges from faint and manageable to severe and debilitating — and sometimes involves both as well as everything in between during several hours. Sciatica sometimes goes away within several days or weeks, and other times, it hangs around for months.

Common Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica occurs as a result of the sciatic nerve somehow becoming irritated, usually by a herniated disc in the lower spine. The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back all the way down to just above the knee. It’s important to remember that sciatica is not a condition in its own right — rather, it’s a symptom with an underlying cause. Degenerative disc disease and lumbar spinal stenosis are other possible causes of sciatica, and this condition may also affect pregnant women and those who are substantially overweight. Treatment options depend on the actual cause.

Common Treatments for Sciatica

Mild sciatica generally responds well to over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen, alternating hot and cold compresses on the affected area, and by stretching exercises and walking, although it’s important not to overdo it.

Chronic sciatica, however, generally calls for more serious treatment measures. These may include physical therapy, prescription painkillers, and even cognitive therapy designed to help patients learn to manage chronic pain. One of the most effective treatments for easing the pressure of the sciatic nerve is the Cox Technique, which is a hands-on application performed by the doctor while the patient lies on a special table.

If you suspect you may have sciatica, always schedule an appointment with a qualified health care professional to get to the root of the problem and get the best possible treatment plan. Please feel free to contact our office at your earliest convenience with any questions or concerns you may have about sciatica.

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