Sciatica, also known as lumbar radiculopathy, is a serious form of pain that has a variety of causes and symptoms that are usually only felt on one half of the body. It has been prevalent since ancient times, and is fairly widespread and recognized. Symptoms include shooting or burning pain either in one of the five spinal nerve roots, usually leading to lower back, hip, buttock and leg pain. In addition to this pain, a feeling of numbness or weakness usually accompanies sciatica.
Causes of sciatica are diverse, but they include a lumbar disc herniation pressing on a nerve, which usually accounts for most of the cases. However, practically any type of irritation that impacts the nerve can be held liable: other causes include tumors, infections, and internal bleeding. Many women also contract sciatica during pregnancy, as it can aggravate the sciatic nerve, but it usually has no traumatic impact on the fetus. For those with sciatica, risk factors include degenerative arthritis of the lumbar spine.
Sciatica nerve pain relief is dependent on several factors. Since the sciatic nerve is the biggest nerve in the body, it can sometimes be a lengthy process for it to be repaired to optimal function. However, there are times when sciatia resolves itself after a short time span of weeks, but this usually occurs specifically when the cause is a lumbar disc herniation.
The most common form of sciatica nerve pain relief is medication that is specifically used to relieve inflammation and pain, though evidence about the helpfulness of medication is still being debated. Nonetheless, among the most popular prescribed medications are muscle relaxants, botulism toxin and cortisone injections, and other forms of painkillers. On occasion, epidural steroid injections are often employed, though these agents are more controversially used.
Bed rest is the traditional form of treatment for sciatica, as walking or exercising with these symptoms is not advised. There has much research conducting on the effectiveness of bed rust in helping patients with sciatica nerve pain relief. Usually, after a span of three to four months, the majority of patients suffering these symptoms report slight improvement. However, this improvement is roughly analogous to patients who did not receive bed rest; thus, the case for bed rest as a form of sciatica nerve pain relief is not significant.
Some people in desperate need of sciatica nerve pain relief turn to surgical methods to remove part of the disc in a process called disectomy. While this may be an appealing option to some, the majority of research shows that the long-term benefits do not show a significant improvement. In the short run, pain may be alleviated, but otherwise it seems to have no enormous effect on the pain.
Though these are some of the most prevalent forms of sciatica nerve pain relief, other opportunities abound. These include stretching exercises, physical therapy, and naturopathic remedies.
Ultimately, though sciatica is painful and quite serious, there is still hope for those who are suffering from it. Over time, symptoms may abate completely, and even if it may not completely go away, scientists are researching it and striving to come up with a more effective cure.