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The Causes of Sciatic Nerve Pain

Aug 18, 2007
Sciatica is a frequently misunderstood cause of lower back and leg pain. It's not simply a condition but a diagnosis of multiple symptoms. Sciatica is important to understand because the treatment is based on what kind of symptoms are discovered. Sciatica necessarily caused only by a compacting of the nerve root. It can frequently be caused by a herniated disc, a vertebra (spinal element) that is no longer aligned, or possibly by a disc that has deteriorated

Sciatica can be a problem during pregnancy, as the uterus can sometimes sit on the sciatic nerve. As a woman puts on weight during the pregnancy, this can cause the vertebrae in the spine to compress the nerves. If a woman is not careful with her posture during pregnancy, sciatica can become an issue. Carrying yourself with poor posture can put pressure on the sciatic nerve. These and a number of other pregnancy issues can cause back pain.

Sciatica can also be caused by a muscle spasm in the back. This spasm can be caused by the contraction of the piriformis muscle. As this muscle contracts, the muscles can compress the sciatic nerve; as a result, a painful sciatica can develop. Sometimes the problem can be the result of too much sitting or a poor sleeping position, if this is not corrected by regular stretching exercise then this can also be a back pain issue.

Anything that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve can cause this back and leg pain. A well-known cause sciatica can be a spinal disc herniation. Normally the nerve passes through the vertebrae, but if there is herniation then the spinal column can no longer protect the nerve in the way it is designed to do..

The way to treat sciatica, and to relieve the back pain it causes, is to find ways to remove the compression. Relieving the pressure will also remove the pressure on the nerves. Usually offering some type of physical support to relieve the pressure accomplishes this decompression.

In ninety percent of all cases of sciatica, removing compression is enough to allow the disc to recover itself. Although genetics can play a part in the chances of a person having a herniated disc, the treatment is the same for anyone with this problem. The best treatment is to rest and wear a back support. If more severe intervention is needed, you may supplement that treatment with massage. A professional masseur or masseuse knows how to mobilize the muscles and can supplement the beneficial effects of self-exercise.

Whether with professional massage or self-exercise, the goal is to loosen the muscles while lessening the inflammation, which should quickly diminish the back pain.

The patient may find that an extended period of physiotherapy may be required. If the patient combines this professional therapy with changes in posture, he or she will find that improvement will come faster.

How to improve posture? The primary ways are not standing for too long, finding a better chair to sit in or at least improved posture while sitting and maybe using a pillow to give added back support. Sometimes it is necessary to use anti-inflammatories to help the swelling go down faster and so ease the pain.
About the Author
Scott Meyers is a staff writer for Its Entirely Natural, a resource for helping you achieve a naturally healthy body, mind, and spirit. You may contact our writers through the web site. Follow this link for more information on Back Pain.
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