If you have sciatica, you could have pain in your feet, butt, back, and legs. However, it’s likely that this is what you want to know the most: How long does sciatica pain last? Your response: A few days to several months. However, there are several actions you may do to recover more quickly, as per many chiropractic clinics.
To start, knowing what’s causing your discomfort could be helpful. The greatest nerve in your body, known as the sciatic nerve, is irritated and inflamed when you have sciatica. The sciatic nerve, which originates from the joining of many lower back nerve roots, travels down your leg and branches out in your hips, buttocks, legs, and foot. According to many chiropractic clinics, it gives some of your lower legs, the back of your thighs, and the soles of your feet sensation in addition to controlling the muscles in your lower legs and the backs of your knees.
Even though you could experience sciatica pain in your leg, your back is more likely to be to blame. A herniated disc that is pressing on a nerve root is the most frequent cause of sciatica. As per chiropractic clinics, the good news is that up to 90% of sciatica sufferers experience self-healing over time. Self-care practices can also be quite beneficial.
Stephen A. Johnson, MD, a neurosurgeon at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital New Brunswick and Community Medical Center in New Jersey and an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Rutgers Medical School, asserts that “sciatica is essentially a generalization for nerve pain.” “The back is where sciatica starts and spreads from.”
According to Mara Vucich, DO, a physiatrist at the Maryland Spine Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, both the front and the back of your legs might be impacted. The pain can be searing or shooting and come with numbness. She explains that “several of my patients describe feeling like water is pouring down their leg.” You could get tingling in your legs as well.
When Should You See a Doctor for Sciatica Pain?
It’s generally okay to wait and see if you can hold off if the discomfort lasts only a few days. However, Dr. Johnson advises calling the doctor if the pain interferes with your daily activities or if you experience any neurological abnormalities like numbness or paralysis. You should consult a doctor, he advises, if the discomfort is affecting your way of life.
If you experience any loss of control over your bladder or intestines, you should also visit a doctor very soon. Cauda equina syndrome, a severe disorder that affects the nerves near the spinal cord’s tip, may be to blame for this. The best course of action in cases with cauda equina syndrome is to go to the hospital. And don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you encounter sudden, intense pain as a result of trauma like an all or a car accident. Going to your primary care physician initially makes logical. According to Dr. Johnson, if the pain does not go away over time, you will likely be sent to a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic spine surgeon, who may start a workup by requesting X-rays or an MRI.
Acute Versus Chronic Sciatica and Sciatica Flareups
According to Dr. Vucich, acute sciatica only lasts a few days or weeks. If sciatica persists for three months or longer, it becomes chronic. You could put up with persistent sciatica for years, according to Dr. Johnson. A sciatica flare-up might happen occasionally. According to Dr. Johnson, an acute irritation of the spinal nerve roots is the direct cause of a flare-up. “Microtrauma to the nerve can produce inflammation if the person encounters a fall or, in uncommon circumstances, an infection.” Consequently, a sciatica flare-up occurs.
How to Make Sciatica Go Away
Does sciatica resolve by itself? Sometimes, though, you might try to hasten the healing process by taking action. Awaken and relax. It’s crucial to pay attention to your body and avoid pushing yourself to keep up a demanding workout schedule. Dr. Johnson advises using an NSAID like Motrin or Advil to treat your inflammation. In order to hide the discomfort till the body recovers itself, he prescribes them for roughly a week.
Think about physical treatment Physical therapy won’t fix a pinched nerve, but it can lessen some of the discomfort that comes with it, according to Dr. Vucich. Additionally, it may assist to build up the supporting muscles, giving you a stronger back and core. Remember that you don’t only perform the PT exercises that are demonstrated to you. Your physical therapist advised you to perform them at home.
Usually, an epidural injection of medicine into the region around the spinal cord is not recommended straight away, but if the pain is severe, your doctor could. According to Dr. Johnson, a person can have steroid injections once every six months or once a year. You should still move about even if you don’t want to push yourself while you are in pain. According to Mark Gugliotti, DPT, an associate professor of physical therapy at the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, NY, “it is crucial to retain your mobility.” Uncertain of the ideal amount of movement for you? Consult your physician or physical therapist, he advises.
Can You Prevent Sciatica?
Staying active can help you avoid getting sciatica again. Living a healthy, active lifestyle is “the most essential approach to treat or avoid sciatica,” according to Dr. Johnson. He claims that keeping a healthy weight is part of that. “The more weight we carry, the more pressure it puts on our nerves and puts additional strain on our joints and discs.” According to Dr. Johnson, the most typical cause of nerve compression and discomfort in this region is obesity. Here are some additional suggestions for preventing sciatica while preserving the health and safety of your back and core.
Be mindful of your posture since it might help you feel better. Don’t slouch! Also, pay close attention to how you are sitting at your workstation. Sciatica may also be avoided with a fast evaluation of your workspace and a few easy ergonomic changes, according to Dr. Gugliotti. Become proficient in lifting. Sciatica might become worse if you carry heavy objects improperly, according to Dr. Vucich. If you are doing physical therapy, go through the proper lifting technique with your therapist. Otherwise, discuss it with your doctor. Dr. Gugliotti recommends against carrying heavy objects when bending forward or in a twisted position. When it comes to controlling sciatica, he explains, practicing improved lifting techniques can be quite beneficial.