One of the problems that affect the lower back is sciatica pain. This kind of pain occurs when sciatic nerve gets irritated. Those who need sciatic treatment are those with severe pain, tingling and numbness. Sciatic nerve is the largest nerve we humans have. It starts from the nerve roots in the lower back area and then extends through the buttocks, back of thighs and ends in the lower leg. Sciatic nerve pain varies widely among its victims. Some people feel pain or numbness in their calf or foot while others feel tingling pain in buttocks and back of thighs.
A few feel severe pain in the lumbar spine area where sciatic nerve starts. This type of pain is among those that pain doctors NJ clinics deal with on a regular basis. It is highly related to disc herniation in the lower back. If there is a herniated disc (protruding or ruptured disc), it will compress the sciatic nerve and trigger pain. Besides ruptured discs in the lumbar area, sciatic nerve pain can result from a degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, muscle strain, Piriformis syndrome, spinal tumor, and Ankylosing spondylitis among other causes. A pain doctor NJ should examine your lumbar spine and determine the real cause of sciatic nerve pain.
Who is at risk of sciatica pain?
Aging puts men and women in danger of feeling sciatic nerve pain. Having arthritis and degenerative disc disease at old age is not surprising at all and two conditions can trigger sciatica pain. Obesity triggers several health problems, including back pain. Excess weight can strain your spine, especially if it is in the abdominal area. Carrying pregnancy is also linked to backache because as a woman gets heavier, her pelvic area is subjected to pressure and strain. If you sit down for several hours when working or you hate exercising, you are likely to see a pain doctor NJ soon for sciatic nerve pain.
How to know you need sciatic treatment?
Needless to say, you will observe the symptoms you are having and determine if they are incapacitating you. According to most people who seek sciatic treatment, the pain they endure is deep and severe. It begins slowly on just one side of their back and then travels down the buttock and behind the thigh. This type of nerve pain (radiculopathy) indicates a pinched or an irritated nerve in the lumbar spine. An irritated sciatic nerve can make your hip, knee and foot ache and cause a lower back or leg muscle spasm.
Most people are able to endure sciatica pain and can wait until it ends on its own. All the same, sciatic nerve discomfort can get so severe that one cannot stop themselves from seeing a pain doctor NJ the soonest possible. For instance, the pain can worsen when one stands or sits down for a long period of time. As well, when a victim stands up from a toilet seat or another low sitting position, sciatica pain can exacerbate. Other normal gestures that can worsen sciatic nerve pain are coughing, sneezing and difficult bowel movements.
Bending forward can increase the pain and sometimes it is accompanied by severe weakness, tingling and numbness. Sometimes the weakness is extreme, stopping the victim from moving their affected foot. At this point, seeking sciatic treatment is the wisest thing to do. So call a pain doctor NJ if:
- The pain does not get better in a few days or weeks and seems to get worse each passing day.
- If you are 20 years or younger or past fifty-five years old and have never sought sciatic treatment
- You have cancer in any part of your body or have had it in the past.
- Your weight has decreased so much and have unexplained fever, chill and back pain.
- You are on IV drugs or are HIV positive
- If you cannot bend forward without feeling a lot of pain and this has been going on for seven to fourteen days.
- You have been feeling weak and the feeling has been worsening overtime.
Emergency sciatic treatment is needed if the following symptoms accompany your nerve pain. These are:
- Unbearable ache even if you have taken something to reduce pain.
- You have been involved in an accident, such as a vehicle accident or a fall from a high place, and the injury is causing extreme pain.
- If pain can be felt in the back of your chest.
- If you experience inability to control your bowels or urine and/or have a numbing feeling in your genital area. The best pain doctor NJ will want to examine you and determine if you have a nervous system condition called cauda equine syndrome. It occurs when the nerves at the tip of the spinal cord are hurt.
- You cannot move your body or feel your lower extremities: legs and feet.
- Your temperature level has risen to more than 101 F.
It is important to seek one of the top pain doctors NJ State has when your symptoms look like an emergency.
Diagnosing sciatica nerve pain
Clinical diagnosis is necessary prior to offering sciatic treatment to the affected person. In short, the selected pain specialist will want to know your medical history and about the symptoms you have been having. Additionally, the pain doctor NJ will carry out a physical examination that will help him or her see various issues in your lower back. If sciatica pain has attacked you for just a short period of time and there are no disease signs, your pain doctor will avoid X-rays and lab studies. More that will be done include the following:
- X-rays of the back – These will be done only if a person has a HIV infection, uses IV drugs or steroids and/or has a history of cancer. X-ray can be done along with a bone scan.
- CT or MRI scans – These scans can be recommended when sciatica pain has persisted for several weeks.
Besides the above-mentioned tests, your pain doctor NJ might recommend a complete blood count (CBC) test to check if you have cancer-related anemia, an infection of the spine, or any other unusual cause of sciatic nerve discomfort. In case there is blood in urine, the cause may be kidney stones; pus or bacteria in the urine suggest an infection.
Sciatica treatment at home
One thing is for sure, sciatica pain will affect your ability to work or do a sport. Prior to seeking sciatic treatment, some people prefer to try self-help tricks at home. These include the following:
- Taking over-the-counter pain medicines: aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen. These are taken for pain relief and reduction of inflammation and unless you are allergic to these drugs, the best thing is to take them.
- Avoid activities that worsen your sciatic symptoms. That is, avoid bending, lifting or sitting down in a soft, low couch.
- Holding a cold pack on the hurting nerve. The hurting area can also be massaged with an ice cube using a triangular pattern. A lot of ice cubes will be needed because they will liquefy once subjected to body heat. It is important to alternate cold packs with hot packs. So after massaging your nerve with cold ice, use an electric heating pad on the same area to see if the pain will go away. Alternatively, submerge a towel in hot water, squeeze it and place it on the hurting lower back. If you have an electric heating pad, avoid using a wet towel with it to prevent a potential electric shock hazard.
- Lie down on your back on a firm mattress or floor with a pillow under your knees. Alternatively, lie down on your side with a pillow between your knees to maintain a straight back. If you have a recliner chair at home, lie on it. Sleeping all day has been shown by those offering back pain and sciatic treatment to worsen the situation.
It goes without saying that strenuous activities will only worsen your pain. So, try to increase your level of activity gradually while not expecting to get better at once.
Medicines offered by pain doctors NJ for sciatica pain relief
All doctors will tell you to modify and limit your activity levels. After diagnosing sciatica, they will then give you medicine for pain relief. Meloxican and diclofenac NSAIDs are often prescribed to stop sciatic nerve pain. Moreover, certain pain relievers including Tylenol (acetaminophen) as well as muscle relaxants like cyclobenzaprine and tizanidine are prescribed. If the afore-mentioned drugs do not control the pain, your pain doctor NJ will recommend stronger medicines like codeine, morphine or vicodin(narcotic drugs) to provide instant pain relief. However, narcotics will only be prescribed for short periods of time.
When surgery is suggested as the best sciatic treatment
If sciatic nerve pain goes on after following everything your pain doctor NJ asks of you, then surgery might be suggested. Prior to this, the back doctor will ask for CT or MRI scans to study your lower back and see if there is a herniated disc, arthritis or another health issue. If the provider of sciatic treatment discovers that you have cauda equine syndrome or nerve damage, they will exempt you from surgery. On the other hand, if there is nothing stoping your doctor from operating on your back, they will go right ahead. Recovery from surgery can be difficult especially if the procedure goes amiss.
Are there other things that can benefit a sciatica pain patient?
One cure that is widely suggested is physical therapy. This should be offered professionally by someone who has been properly trained and exposed to the task. Special instructions can be received from your pain doctor NJ on how to deal with backache. For instance, they can show you a number of exercises you can do at home, along with videos or pictures. But these should be done when sciatic treatment with medicines or surgery shows effects of working.
There is also current research that requires people to stay active without straining their backs. Staying in bed may feel great at first, but pain doctors NJ warn that it might worsen back pain and radicular pain. Incase you note that there is no improvement after 7 to 10 days, have a talk with a pain doctor NJ immediately. He or she could suggest other therapies, including acupuncture and relaxation techniques. Doctors do give epidural steroid injections, also called cortisone or prednisone, to end persistent sciatica.
These combined with walking, yoga, pilates and other special exercises can improve your sciatic nerve pain greatly. A spinal manipulation procedure like chiropractic treatment is great and can offer varying results. A botulinum toxin or botox injection can give relief to several people with long-term sciatica symptoms, according to studies done in Europe and Scotland. However, studies to verify this information continue to be done.
How to prevent sciatica
To live with sciatica that comes and goes, continue with self-help procedures like taking pain medicines and using hot and/or cold packs. Whether these are prescribed or bought from the counter, the important thing is that they are capable of stopping. It is important to stop activities that strain your lower back, including sitting down or standing up for several hours. If movement is a problem, your pain doctor NJ can recommend using a crutch or cane.
Proper lifting methods are necessary, especially keeping your back straight and bending your knees when picking up a heavy item. This simple activity can stop a mechanical back problem from taking place. Practicing yoga and meditation, in addition to exercises, is totally helpful. Note that sciatic treatment might be needed again in future when the problem recurs, which might happen without a warning. This can be brought about by improper lifting as well as twisting the back while bending.
Sciatica is not exactly like other types of lumbar spine pain. Even if the pain begins in the lower back, it travels down just one leg. So the pain does not shift to both buttocks and legs; this is rather difficult. Pain due to sciatica is the shooting, electrifying kind. The burning sensation can be mild to excruciating. Pain can be felt in one leg or one part of your leg while numbness can be felt in the same leg but in another region. To understand more about sciatica treatment and recovery meet the best pain doctor the soonest possible.