What is a Sciatic nerve?
Sciatic nerve is one of the longest nerves in human body, running all the way from buttocks to the feet. It supplies the muscles of buttocks, legs, feet and the skin covering these muscles. It basically originates from the lumbosacral region (roughly the region where hip bone meets your spine) and includes spinal nerves .
What is Sciatica?
Now that you know what sciatic nerve is and where it lies, it’s time you know if something can go wrong with this nerve. It’s a common knowledge that when nerves get hurt or compressed, it pains a lot. And when something goes wrong with your sciatic nerve the pain and numbness you feel in your buttocks, legs and feet is the sciatic nerve pain or sciatica.
At this point you might ask, “What causes sciatica?” Well, there is a long list of causes that can trigger pain of sciatica. Major causes include (1):
- Any injury to the pelvis might also damage this nerve.
- The slippage of spinal cord disks might irritate this nerve giving rise to excruciating pain.
- Any tumors in the pelvic region causing compression of this nerve.
- Piriformis syndrome.
- Narrowing of the points from where this nerve originates (spinal stenosis).
Sciatica Symptoms! How to know if you’ve sciatica?
How do you know if the pain or numbness you’re feeling in your buttocks and legs is sciatica and not any ordinary muscle cramp? There are some symptoms that are related to sciatica and if these symptoms appear it’s very likely that you’re having sciatic nerve pain. These symptoms include (2):
- A constant feeling of pain and numbness in any part along the course of this nerve i.e. from buttocks to the feet.
- Weakness of muscles.
- The pain aggravates upon standing, bending your knees or bending backwards or forwards.
- The pain also worsens upon sneezing, coughing and laughing.
How to get rid of the sciatic nerve pain?
So, the big question here is how can you undo this pain? How can switch back to a pain free life? Some things that help relieve sciatic nerve pain include:
• Try an inversion table.
Ever heard of inversion tables? These tables are especially designed to bring your body in such position where the force or traction on your joints, muscles and nerves get minimal. Sciatica is triggered when sciatic nerve is compressed. If you invert your body and unload your joints and nerves, you can prevent the pain in first place. Besides, several clinical studies have shown that inversion tables to be an effective form of back and neck pain relief.
• Try some massage.
A quick thing that you can try at home is massaging the affected areas. Apply olive oil on the affected areas and rub it applying slight pressure. This would help relieve the spasm of muscles and lessen the pain.
• Try some exercises.
Although bed rest might provide some temporary relief from the pain but prolonged bed rest is not recommended. Try simple sciatic nerve exercises like walking or simple back stretches. Don’t overdo as it would do more harm than good.
• Try compression stockings.
Using compression stocking is also effective in reducing the intensity of sciatica.
• Eat some pain killer.
You can eat some over the counter pain killers like ibuprofen or aspirin to reduce pain.
How to prevent having sciatica or sciatic nerve pain?
There are some things you can do to avoid sciatic nerve pain in first place:
- Don’t lift heavy loads. Know your limits.
- Take care of your posture while sitting, standing, sleeping or driving.
- Do regular exercise.
- Don’t stretch, bend or twist your spine beyond its limits.
If you are suffering from sciatic nerve pain, you may get better with physical therapy, medications, or heat and ice. See your doctor and ask what they recommend. Your doctor may order an inversion table as inversion therapy can be helpful in certain cases of sciatic nerve troubles.
I hope we answered the question what is a sciatic nerve so that at the end you are equipped with some general knowledge which will help you identify if or when it happens (I hope it never happens to you or anyone else).