One warm day last fall, my son begged me to play soccer with him in the backyard. More often than not, I have to say “no” to these daily requests because my body won’t let me join in the fun. That day, though, I was feeling pretty good. The daily … Read More
If you?ve injured or pinched your sciatic nerve, you?ll know it by the pain that radiates from your lower back into your buttocks and down your legs. The sciatic nerve runs through this entire region of your body.
A herniated disk, bone spur, or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) can all put pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing a condition called sciatica. Compression of this nerve causes pain that can range from mild to severe. Sometimes, you might feel an almost electric jolt down your back and legs. The pain can get worse with sudden movements, like a sneeze or cough. Along with the pain, you might have symptoms like numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness. Often, only one side of the body is affected.
To diagnose a problem with your sciatic nerve, your doctor might first ask you to perform several tasks, such as squatting or raising a straight leg. Imaging tests such as x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scan can show whether you have a herniated disk or other condition that can cause sciatica. The doctor may also do a test of nerve impulses, to see if there is any compression on the sciatic nerve. This test is called electromyography (EMG).
If you do have sciatica, your doctor can prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines, muscle relaxants, or antidepressants to help manage the pain. Holding cold or heat to the area can also help make you feel more comfortable. Steroid injections help bring down inflammation around the sciatic nerve. Once your pain is under control, a physical therapist can teach you exercises to strengthen your back, improve flexibility, and prevent future injuries to the sciatic nerve. Surgery is an option if your pain doesn?t improve with other treatments, or you have more serious symptoms like a loss of control over your bladder or bowel movements.
A pinched nerve is a nerve under abnormal pressure—a compressed nerve. The pressure can come from adjacent bones or soft tissues such as tendons, ligaments, muscles, or cartilage. When that happens, the brain sends a signal that causes pain, weakness, or a numb feeling. But what are the most common … Read More
From head to toe, nerve damage can affect any part of the body. The condition is surprisingly prevalent—20 million people in the U.S. alone. Half of all people with diabetes have some form of nerve damage, according to the American Diabetes Association, and diabetic neuropathy is just one of more … Read More
“My sciatica is acting up.” This commonly uttered statement refers to pain that starts in the lower back and radiates down the leg. It’s mostly annoying, but it can be debilitating, making effective sciatica pain management an important pursuit. Sciatica isn't so much a diagnosis as it is a group … Read More
The sciatic nerve is the biggest single nerve in the body, and has many sections that branch out through the lower spine area and down your legs. If any part of the sciatic nerve is squeezed or pinched, the result of this compression is searing pain in your lower back … Read More
It may begin like a small niggling ache in your buttock. You think perhaps you bumped it and it’s just a little bruise. Then, a shooting pain extends down the back of your leg and into your toes, causing a pinpricking numbness. Sitting is painful. Walking is worse. You limp, … Read More
Your spine is subjected to immense wear and tear over your lifetime. Fortunately, it comes with its own inbuilt shock absorption system—one that’s designed to counter the forces placed on it by the motion involved in day-to-day life, as well as physical exercise and (often improper) body mechanics. This shock … Read More
It can be difficult to cope with nerve pain like that caused by a pinched nerve, partly because of the nature of the pain and partly because common over-the-counter painkilling drugs aren’t very effective at treating it. People who suffer from a pinched nerve or from other types of nerve … Read More
Studies demonstrate that unfiltered tap water in America may contain over 792 different chemical contaminants, over half of which are unregulated. These poisons have been found in over 46 states, and include heavy metals, industrial solvents, pesticides, antidepressant drugs, microbes, and fluoride. Many of these are known to cause “unfiltered … Read More