Sciatica, or sciatic nerve pain, is a condition in which the sciatic nerves in the body become inflamed. Sciatic nerves are found beginning at the lower spine and continue down the buttocks area, back of the legs, and into the feet.
Symptoms of sciatica is characterized by a light tingling feeling or burning sensation to a full blown shooting pain that travels from the lower back, buttocks area, back of legs, and/or feet. More often than not, sciatic nerve pain affects only one side, although it could also be possible to run down both legs.
Have you ever experienced such excruciating pain that standing up becomes a great difficulty?
Sometimes, sitting down makes the pain even worse. A lot of people may be doing something so simple and yet a certain body movement would cause them unbearable pain. You may be experiencing sciatica.
For some people not only will they feel pain but they may find that their leg become numb and they will have problems in trying to either move or control their leg.
Sciatica could be a frightening experience especially if you do not realize what is happening. One may begin to feel like he/she will become crippled. However, most of the time sciatica can be treated effectively.
Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica may occur when the nerve in the lower spine become pinched, or if there is a slipped disk. Arthritis or a sprained ligament will narrow the passageways of the nerves which may cause the nerve endings to become tender and inflamed. Other causes of sciatica include an abscess, growth, or blood clot. But these can be rare.
Why Back Problems Tend to Hang Around
Your back is a complicated mechanical system with many moving parts. This is why the condition of the surrounding muscles is so important in supporting it and holding everything in alignment. Studies have shown the muscles that provide support to your back behave differently to other muscles. The key difference is that they are slower to automatically “switch back on” (i.e. return to their previous level of function) after an injury or a strain. Unless they are triggered by exercise, they can take a long time to return to their previous level of function.
Worst case without the right exercise, they may never return to full function and so your back doesn’t get the support it needs. When these supporting muscles are working properly, they respond to signals from your brain by clenching or bracing fractionally before a strain impacts your back. This means your back is supported as the strain arrives and so the chance of (further) injury or strain is reduced.
When this mechanism is not working properly and the muscles don’t trigger, your back is left unsupported and thus you are more likely to re-injure or strain your back. This is why back problems can be so difficult to get rid of once you start having them and why you can suffer from recurring back problems. This is also the reason regular exercise is so important – it helps to keep your supporting muscles active and able to do their job.