Everything you need to know about sciatica pain

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Sciatic pain impacts upon every aspect of your daily life, but intervention and strategies to help you alleviate the pain are available. Below we explore what sciatic pain is as well as the symptoms, causes, interventions and when to seek medical help. Living with any type of chronic pain effects both your physical and mental wellbeing. 

What exactly is sciatica?

The sciatic nerve is a long nerve that runs from your buttocks, down towards your feet. Sciatic pain occurs when this nerve is damaged in some way. It may be inflamed, or undue pressure may be placed upon the nerve. This pain may be constant or intermittent.

Common symptoms of sciatica

Symptoms vary with each individual, but the pain is usually worse when sitting for long periods. Pain may be located in the buttocks, the lower back, feet, the back of your legs, or even in your toes. How you experience pain can also vary, as you may feel a dull ache, a tingling pain, a shooting pain or even numbness.

What causes sciatica?

The common cause is having a slipped disc that puts pressure onto the sciatic nerve, causing pain and discomfort. Other causes include degenerative disc disease, muscle spasms, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis and pregnancy.

What treatment options are available for sciatica?

In most cases, sciatic pain can be tested without the need to see your GP. Anti-inflammatory tablets such as ibuprofen may help to reduce swelling and pain. In combination with this, some suffers use both hot and cold compression packs, placed directly onto the affected area. Moving regularly may help, as will the use of a support pillow while you sit and sleep. Stretching and simple massages have also helped many individuals with sciatica.

Seeking medical advice

If you are suffering from persistent pain or numbness, it is always best to seek medical advice. Your GP can confirm if you have sciatica and can talk you through a range of treatment options and strategies, including specialist pain care.

For more information about sciatica and the sciatic nerve in Wales and Cardiff, please do get in touch with us today. Our team of pain specialists may be able to help you better manage your pain on a day to day basis.

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