1. What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition in which the sciatic nerve is inflamed. The sciatic nerve is the nerve which runs from the hips to the feet. Therefore, sciatica is a condition in which the pain radiates from the lower back to the feet along the course of the nerve.
2. What are the common causes of sciatica?
Sciatica usually occurs when the sciatic nerve gets pinched. This is typically observed due to problems in the spine such as herniated disc, or overgrowth of the bone such as bony spurs on the vertebrae. The nerve may also get compressed due to conditions like diabetes, tuberculosis of the spine or the presence of a tumour.
3. When do you need to consult a doctor for sciatica?
You should consult a doctor if your symptoms like pain have not improved even after a few weeks of home remedies, rest, and over the counter painkillers. You also need to consult a doctor if your condition is getting worse, and you cannot perform daily activities.
4. How will the doctor diagnose sciatica?
Physical examination is done to assess the strength of the muscles and response to stimulation. Imaging techniques like MRI scan, CT scan, X-ray and electromyography are prescribed to confirm the diagnosis.
5. What are the lifestyle changes that will help in improving the symptoms?
Although resting for some time is useful in providing relief from the pain, prolonged periods of rest can worsen the symptoms. Therefore, moderate physical activity is recommended to improve sciatica. Management of diabetes or obesity is essential as well. Avoid postures and movements which worsen the pain.