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6 Things to Know about Sciatica Pain

Sciatica can be very painful and make even the simplest daily activities challenging. Here are 6 things you should know.
A woman suffering from sciatica pain
1. Common Cause The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disk: When a disk develops a tear or crack and bulges into the spinal canal, it can pinch the sciatic nerve. Usually, symptoms clear up within about six weeks, but for some people, the pain can last far longer.
A man experiencing the pain of sciatica in need of hip joint support brace.
2. Symptoms: 

The main symptom is a shooting pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve; from the lower back, through the buttock, and down the back of either leg. Some other common symptoms can include numbness along the leg of the nerve and tingling feeling in the feet and toes. The pain can have different degrees of intensity and can be made worse by sitting too long.

A woman experiencing the pain of sciatica in need of hip joint support brace.

3. Who gets it? Some estimate that up to 40% of people may suffer from sciatica pain in their lifetimes. The risk increases as you get older. There are many risk factors including obesity and work-related injuries that can cause damage to the discs in the spine.

 

People working in an office

4. Flare Ups:  When the sciatic nerve becomes irritated or inflamed due to a herniated disc, the pain is generally worse when seated. The discs are rubbery cushions between the vertebrae that build up your spine. Over time, these discs dehydrate and become stiffer, losing their cushioning ability and leaving the nerves more susceptible to compression. When pressure like lifting heavy objects is placed on the spine, the disc may be compressed to a point where it may tear or bulge outwards, creating a herniated disc.

Doctor and patient discussing xray results from spine

5. Do I need to call my doctor? Treatment of chronic sciatica usually involves a combination of self-care measures and medical treatment. Surgery may be an option if symptoms have not responded to other treatments and continue to intensify. 

Woman wearing an SI Joint Belt to prevent excessive movement by stabilizing and compressing the hips and pelvic area to reduce nerve inflammation and sciatica pain.

6. Treatments: There are a variety of things you can do to relieve sciatica pain and get back to your life. Many people find results by remaining active, stretching, yoga, hot and cold pack or wearing an SI Sacroiliac Support Belt to stabilize the hips and reduce pain and inflammation of everyday activities.