1. What is sciatica?
Sciatica is defined as a pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve. This may occur down one or both legs starting from the lower back. Sciatica most commonly affects one side of the body.
2. What are the common causes of sciatica?
The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated spinal disc. Other causes include lumbar spinal stenosis, spinal tumours, infection, trauma and cauda equina syndrome.
3. When do you need to consult a doctor for sciatica?
Most of the mild cases of sciatica don't require treatment. If symptoms last more than a week, a doctor should be consulted. If there is sudden, severe, radiating pain following a trauma or if bowel/bladder function is affected, a severe numbness or weakness is present, then a doctor should be immediately consulted.
4. How will the doctor diagnose sciatica?
Clinically ,sciatica is diagnosed by symptoms and physical examination. Lasègue's sign is the most common diagnostic sign that the doctor will test for. Other diagnostic methods are computerised tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, X-ray and discography.
5. What are the lifestyle changes that will help in improving the symptoms?
Lifestyle changes include- regular exercise, good posture, well balanced diet, avoid lifting heavy objects and bending down or stooping till complete recovery occurs.