Sciatica refers to pain that travels along the path of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve travels from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and down each leg.
Typically occurs when a herniated disk or an overgrowth of bone puts pressure on part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.
What are the Symptoms of Sciatica?
Some symptoms may include:
- Dull ache
- Burning sensation
- Pain most often occurs on one side
In some cases, the pain is severe enough to make a person unable to move. Some may have sharp pain in one part of the leg or hip and numbness in other parts.
What Are Some Risk Factors?
Risk factors for sciatica include:
- Age. Age-related changes in the spine, such as herniated disks and bone spurs, are the most common causes of sciatica.
- Occupation. A job that requires twisting the back, carrying heavy loads or driving a motor vehicle for long periods might play a role in sciatica.
- Prolonged sitting. People who sit a lot or don’t move much are more likely to develop sciatica than someone who is active daily.
- Diabetes. This affects the way the body uses blood sugar, increasing the risk of nerve damage.
How Do I Prevent Sciatica?
- Exercise regularly. To keep the back strong, work the core muscles. Muscles in the abdomen and lower back are needed for good posture and alignment.
- Keep good posture when sitting. Choose a seat with good lower back support, armrests and a swivel base. For better low back support, place a pillow or rolled towel in the small of the back to keep its normal curve. Keep knees and hips level.
- Use your body correctly. When standing for long periods, rest one foot on a stool or small box from time to time. When lifting something heavy, let your legs do the work and find someone to help lift the object with you. Don’t lift and twist at the same time.