The sciatic nerve is the largest in our body, it can reach a diameter of 1 cm. It is responsible for the mobility of the lower extremities and runs from the lumbar region along the buttocks, thighs, and legs up to the foot. Due to its large diameter and length, the sciatic nerve is often subject to pinching that occurs when there are problems with the musculoskeletal system. A pinched sciatic nerve is called sciatica and is manifested by severe pain in the legs, and sometimes even complete immobilization.
How to prevent sciatica? What are the causes and symptoms of this disease? How to treat it at home? Find out from this article.
Causes of the disease
Sciatica is a consequence of various disorders in the body. These can be problems of the musculoskeletal system, infectious diseases, spinal injuries.
The most common source of problems is a sedentary or sedentary lifestyle.Hence, there are various problems with the spine, which can further lead to pinching of the sciatic nerve.
Diseases causing sciatica:
- intervertebral hernia. The protrusion of the nucleus of the disc from the bony ring leads to compression of the nerve roots through which the sciatic nerve passes;
- tuberculosis, influenza, and a number of other infectious diseases. There is a poisoning of the nerve with toxins that are secreted by microorganisms – the sources of the problem;
- poisoning with lead, arsenic, mercury, alcohol against the background of existing inflammations;
- osteochondrosis. In the presence of this disease, osteophytes are formed – growths on the vertebrae, which can cause pinching of the nerves;
- oncological diseases;
- tumors of the spinal cord and surrounding tissues.
Sciatica patients may be 25 or 55 years old. Often, with an improper lifestyle or injury, the disease tends to manifest itself at a young age, but most cases are observed in people over the age of 40.
The main symptom of sciatica is a sharp pain. The seizure comes on suddenly and can lead to loss of mobility. The pain extends from the lower back, affects the entire back of the legs, and can sometimes reach the heel. Since the nerve, starting in the lumbar region, diverges into branches, pain can be observed in both legs or only in one limb. The nature of the pain syndrome can be different, it all depends on the cause of the disorder. It can be constant acute pain or recurrent attacks.
- violation of the control of bowel and bladder emptying;
- the curvature of posture, changes in gait;
- decreased mobility of the lower limbs or their complete immobility.
In the event of an attack of sciatica, the patient should be given first aid. To do this, put him on a hard surface on his stomach, put a pillow under his chest, free the lower body from pressing clothes. It is necessary to apply an anti-inflammatory ointment to the lumbar spine. The use of heating pads, heating compresses or medications is prohibited, as this can increase inflammation. Common misconceptions about sciatica
To diagnose sciatica, a patient should go for examination to a neurologist. At the reception, the reactions of the nerve endings in the area of the ankle, patella, and tibia, feet are checked. In the presence of sciatic nerve disorders, reactions will be mild or absent altogether.
Also, the patient is asked to raise a straight leg up, severe pains that do not allow such a movement to be fully performed indicate violations. On visual examination, sciatica is indicated by a change in skin color over the pinched area, as well as a violation of gait, since the body adjusts to a certain position, in which the pain is not so pronounced.
Hardware diagnostics are performed:
- x-ray. A poorly informative method allows you to identify signs of the destruction of the vertebrae or intervertebral discs that could cause pinching;
- MRI. The most preferable option that gives a complete picture. Allows you to assess the condition of not only bones but also muscles, nerves, blood vessels.
Based on the collected information, the patient can be diagnosed with sciatica and prescribed treatment.
At home, you can perform a whole range of measures aimed at treating sciatica. Before carrying out any manipulations, consult your doctor.
If sciatica is present, a variety of medications are prescribed to relieve pain and relieve spasm.
Groups of drugs:
- NSAIDs. Necessary to relieve symptoms of inflammation are used in the form of drugs for oral administration, ointments, gels or injections;
- muscle relaxants. They are prescribed to relax the muscles at the pinched point, which allows you to restore blood circulation and relieve pain;
- diuretics. Needed to remove excess fluid from the body, which helps relieve puffiness;
- B vitamins. They help to improve blood flow and accelerate tissue regeneration.
Traditional medicines based on plant or animal raw materials can have a powerful effect and at the same time cause fewer side effects than medical drugs. Before using the recipes, we recommend that you make sure that there are no allergies.
For 1 glass of young needles, you will need 1.5 liters of boiling water. The needles are poured with boiling water, boiled for 10 minutes, and then infused for 4 hours. To prepare a bath, add 1 liter of infusion to 1.5 buckets of water. The water should be warm, not cold or hot. It is worth taking a coniferous bath for 20 minutes, repeat 2 times a week.
Grate the radish or grind in a blender along with the peel. Squeeze the juice from the crushed root vegetable, mix it with honey 3: 1. The resulting mixture is rubbed into the lumbar region with light movements. Then it needs to be wrapped for 50-60 minutes.
Mix honey and flour so that you get a thick mass suitable for sculpting. Form a 1 cm thick cake of honey. Attach it to the sore spot, cover with plastic, and wrap it with a scarf.
Take 20 pcs. bay leaf, pour 220 ml of vodka, leave for 3 days in a dark place. Rub into the affected area.
Heat the wax in a water bath until soft. Put it in cheesecloth or cling film, put a compress on the lower back, and wrap it up with something warm.
Prepare a solution of 3 liters of water, 100 g of salt, 50 g of vinegar. The solution should be cool. Soak a sheet in the solution, wrap yourself around it, cover yourself with a warm blanket, lie down for 45-90 minutes.
Rubbing honey and radish
Take 1 tablespoon coarse salt, 1 tablespoon honey, 5 tablespoons radish juice, 250 ml alcohol. Mix the ingredients and rub into the affected area.
Many physiotherapy approaches are used to treat sciatica. This can be acupuncture, hirudotherapy, paraffin therapy, magnetotherapy. All procedures are carried out as prescribed by a doctor in specialized centers.6 stretches for sciatica that we can do in bed
Gymnastics with sciatica at home will help relieve spasm from the nerve and prevent re-pinching. However, it is not recommended to perform exercises during the period of relapse, when the pain is unbearable, there is swelling of the lower back and fever. First, remove the attack with drugs, and then move on to the mandatory part of the treatment – physical education.
- Lie flat on your back, place a roller under your neck so that your spine is perfectly straight. Bring your knee to your chest and hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Straighten up, repeat with the other leg.
- Bend your knees and pull them towards you. Try to pull as close to your chin as possible to feel the spine stretch. Fix for 3-5 seconds, relax, repeat.
- In a prone position, throw one leg over the other, as you do while sitting on a chair. Bend your legs to the right, while simultaneously turning your head and moving your left arm to the left. Lock, do in the opposite direction.
- Take your straight arms behind your head, stretch your socks. Stretch your toes and toes in opposite directions, stretching your spine.
- Get on your knees, sit on your heels. Rest your forehead on the floor so that your stomach is on your legs, place your hands along the body so that your palms are at hip level, and lookup. Lock in for 3-5 seconds.
- From the previous position, extend your arms in front of you, then straighten and pull back one leg. Fix in this position for 3-5 seconds, repeat with the other leg.
- From the previous position, squeeze both legs under you, leaning on your arms outstretched forward, stretch the spine, while the buttocks should touch the heels, and the arms and forehead – the floor.
An important condition during physiotherapy exercises with pinching of the sciatic nerve is the absence of pain and sudden movements. As soon as you feel that you feel unwell or any of the exercises is uncomfortable, give it up.
As with exercise therapy, any kneading is recommended only in the remission stage, when the pain does not bother the person so much. During the massage, the lumbar zone and buttocks are worked out.
After the massage, you should feel warmth and relaxation, if there is pain, then the procedure was performed incorrectly. At the same time, pain can be felt during the massage, since the masseur works with muscles constrained by spasm.
- Massage oil on your lower back and buttocks. Place the ribs of your palms on your lumbar region. Perform active “sawing” movements towards the buttocks and ⅓ of the buttocks.
- Place your thumb on the point in the lumbar region where the spine ends, perform light vibrating movements with your finger.
- Feel the bony notches on both sides of the sacrum. Make a fist with your fingers, place your knuckles in the points of these indentations and work them lightly on the left and right sides.
- Since the cause of the pinching of the sciatic nerve can be muscle spasm, the task of the massage therapist is to detect it. To do this, you need to massage the buttocks and thighs with your hands in order to feel a hard, spasmodic area. At the site of the spasm, the patient will feel severe pain. To relieve the spasm, the patient inhales and holds his breath, and the masseur presses deeply with two fingers on the area with the spasm for several seconds. The removal of spasms is completed by stroking movements perpendicular to the spasmodic muscle.
- Place three fingers on the lower back, slightly spreading them, slide them along the ilium, above and below it. Run in two directions.
- The massage ends with light stroking movements of the lumbar region and ⅓ of the buttocks.
In addition to manual massage, hydro or vacuum massage can be used.
If sciatica is caused by other disorders in the spine, for example, osteochondrosis or hernia, then it is necessary to pay attention to the treatment of these problems.10 things you should know to relieve sciatic nerve pain
The best prevention of sciatica is an active lifestyle. The correct distribution of loads, the alternation of rest and mobility will help protect your musculoskeletal system not only from sciatica but also from a wide range of other diseases.
- if you have a sedentary job, do a light warm-up every 1 to 2 hours. Stand up, walk lightly, make bends with your body. This warm-up for 10-15 minutes will help nullify any negative effects of low mobility;
- do not lift weights. If, nevertheless, this cannot be avoided, lift loads correctly and use a support bandage;
- the sleeping place should be correct: moderately hard, even, it is recommended to sleep on your side;
- include more foods containing vitamin B in your diet, or buy a suitable complex at the pharmacy after consulting your doctor;
- women should refuse to wear heels above 4 cm.
These simple guidelines will help prevent sciatica from occurring or re-exacerbation in the presence of such a disease.