Sciatic pain or sciatica typically manifests once the nerve that runs down from the spine up to both legs ends up damaged or compressed, resulting to leg pain. There are some underlying causes which include fractures or damage to the pelvis, tumors, constriction of the spinal canal and degeneration of the spinal discs.
There are certain steps involved in the proper management of sciatic pain that you should be familiar with. If you want to learn more about sciatic pain, all you have to do is to register in a first aid class today.
Steps in managing sciatic pain
- Initially, you have to determine the cause of the sciatic pain. Take note that severe leg pain can indicate an underlying condition that entails a specialized form of treatment. The causes of sciatic pain can also include osteoarthritis, compression fracture due to osteoporosis, slippage of the vertebrae in the inferior back due to injury, ankylosing spondylitis and low back strain. The precise cause of the pain can be difficult to determine even with the help of imaging tests.
- It is important to consult a doctor regarding medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be given to reduce the pain and inflammation but must be used accordingly. Extended use of these medications can result to side effects. Corticosteroids are another option that can provide momentary relief which is injected into the areas surrounding the spinal column. Additionally, medications that are used for treating neuropathy are also given when treating sciatic pain.
- In most cases, physical therapy might be required. When it comes to piriformis syndrome, it is one of the causes of sciatic pain. This condition can greatly benefit with the help of exercises. Take note that the trigger of pain is believed to stem from the irritation of the nerve that happens once the piriformis muscle spasms. The stretching exercises are performed along with other forms of treatment.
- You can alternate heat and cold compress. The spasm of the muscles due to sciatic pain can be relieved momentarily by applying heat or cold to the lower back where the nerve starts. The warmth of a heat compress helps improve the blood flow to the affected area and minimizes the inflammation. In case heat could not alleviate the pain, you can apply an ice pack. In both instances, proper care must be observed in order to prevent any damage on the skin. Always remember not to use ice or heat in parts of the body where the flow of blood or sensation is compromised.
- Consult a doctor regarding PENS therapy which stands for percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. This mode of treatment has been effective among individuals who suffer from sciatic pain. The therapy involves probes that are inserted into the skin in order to stimulate the nerves. Based on studies conducted, relief of sciatic pain is higher among those who opted for this form of treatment.