How To Treat Sciatic Pain, Sciatica, Piriformis Syndrome and Lower Back Pain
Let’s talk about sciatica and sciatic pain and how you can treat this pain syndrome at home. These terms refer to pain caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. Illustrated below, this nerve is actually a bundle of lumbar and sacral nerves that begins in the lower back and runs through the buttox into the lower leg. It innervates the muscles of your butt and the back of your leg down to your feet and over most of the top of your foot.
Pain is the most common symptom of sciatic nerve irritation. It often radiates from your lower back, into your buttox, down the back of your leg, and potentially down to the knee or even the foot. It can be made worse by extended periods of standing or sitting, certain exercises such as squatting, obesity and diabetes. Less frequently, you can have tingling or numbness in the affected leg.
Sciatic nerve pain is frequently caused by disc herniation or bone spurs as the nerve exists the bony part of the lumbar or sacral spine. It can also be caused by irritation of the piriformis muscle. In fact, 15-20% of people have an anatomical variant where the sciatic nerve runs through the muscle; predisposing them to sciatic nerve pain. Most people recover fully from the common causes of sciatic pain. According to various studies, frequency of sciatic pain in the general population varies somewhere between 1.3% and 43%; so it can be very common.
As always, you should seek medical attention if you are unsure what the cause of your pain is. You should also seek medical attention if your symptoms are getting worse over time, you’re experiencing a lot of neurological symptoms such as weakness, numbness, tingling and burning and also if you start having bowel or bladder problems.
Treatment of sciatic pain and piriformis syndrome is a combination of rest, anti-inflammatories and physical therapy. I’m going to share with you 5 exercises that are frequently prescribed by doctors and physical therapists to help alleviate sciatic nerve pain.