Why Should Sciatica Pain Never Be Ignored? 

Sciatica is a condition where the sciatica nerve or the spinal roots in the lower lumbar spine is irritated or compressed by a herniated disc or outgrown bone putting pressure on the nerve roots leading to inflammation, numbness, and pain in certain areas of the leg or lower back. The sciatica nerve pain gets worse on coughing, sneezing, or laughing. Let’s understand why should sciatica nerve pain never be ignored and what are the symptoms and causes of sciatica.

Symptoms of sciatica

Symptoms of sciatica include shooting pain radiating down the hip, thigh, and leg. Numbness, tingling, and weakness are the nerve-based symptoms associated with sciatica. If the symptoms observed are consistent and severe, then you should consult a neurosurgeon for the diagnosis of the origin of sciatica nerve pain.   

Causes of sciatica pain 

Sciatica occurs due to compression of the sciatica nerve usually at the fifth lumbar/ first sacral vertebrae.    

The most common causes of the sciatica nerve compression   

Degenerative disc disease– a weakened spinal disc restricts the vertebrae motion  

Disc herniation– the soft inner portion of the disc disrupts through the tough outer corner and presses the nerve   

Spinal stenosis– the narrowing of the canal through which the nerve passes  

Subluxation– misalignment of the one vertebra over the other.

What are the factors leading to sciatica?

Some of the risk factors involved with Sciatica nerve pain are mentioned below-   

Complications of Untreated sciatica nerve pain  

Some risks and complications associated if sciatica nerve pain is left untreated can include-  

Permanent nerve damage- not treating the cause of compression of the nerve can result in permanent nerve damage. This also leads to severe pain, numbness ad weakness of the foot.   

Loss of sensation and motor changes- loss of sensation and weakness can become permanent if the initial sciatica nerve pain caused due to compression is left untreated.  

Incontinence- if other sacral spinal nerve roots are also compressed, it may result in bowel and bladder incontinence.  

Sciatica nerve pain affecting the quality of life 

Sciatica symptoms can become severe to such an extent that it becomes difficult for the person to perform daily activities. The pain becomes disruptive to interfere with sleep and causes discomfort while walking and sitting.    

Most cases of sciatica can be treated with medications like anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, pregabalin, etc., and physiotherapy after consulting an experienced surgeon for immediate relief from sciatica pain.  

If the sciatic nerve pain is severe, not responding to the medications or if there is weakness in the legs or loss of bladder control, you may be offered surgery.  

Using advanced technology or innovative and personalized surgical procedures such as minimally invasive discectomy and endoscopic foraminotomy, sciatica can be treated by an experienced neurosurgeon.   

Prevention of Sciatica 

The basic preventive measures to prevent the compression of the sciatica nerve eliminating the need for surgery include  

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Dr. Arun Rajeswaran

Consult Dr. Arun with a professional experience of more than 13 years in the field of Neurosurgery

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