Editor's PickHealth

9 Myths About Sciatica

Sciatica is pain or numbness caused by nerve compression anywhere along the sciatic nerve, which travels from the lower spine through the buttocks and down the backs of the legs.

Sciatic pain can range from minor to intense, but it is usually self-limiting, meaning it goes away on its own. Of course, while you have it, it feels as though it will never leave.

Here are some prevalent sciatica myths and some facts to think about:

Myth 1: It Is a Condition or a Diagnosis

Fact: Sciatica is frequently referred to as a condition or a diagnosis, although it is a symptom that indicates something irritates a nerve root in the lower back.

The main thing is to figure out what is producing the nerve pressure.

Myth 2: All Leg Pain is Sciatica

Fact: Ottone frequently hears from people who feel that any leg pain is sciatica, but this is not the case.

Leg pain can be caused by vascular problems, muscular strains, cellulitis, or an inflamed nerve, such as the femoral nerve, which causes discomfort in the front of the leg.

A real sciatic symptom extends from the mid-buttock down the back of the leg, usually beyond the knee and into the calf.

Myth 3: We Don’t Know What Causes Sciatica

Fact: Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched or compressed, which is most commonly caused by a bulging or herniated disk between the vertebrae of the lower spine.

A bone spur, or bony growth on the spine itself, spinal stenosis, or a spinal canal narrowing, can also cause it. A spinal tumor can compress the nerve and cause sciatica in rare situations.

Myth 4: Sciatica Occurs Because of Specific Event

Fact: People usually believe that if they had not lifted baggage, sat on a long flight, or assisted a friend in moving, they would not be in pain.

Most of the time, the intervertebral disk has a tiny defect and is about to herniate; nevertheless, sciatica is not always caused by that precise event.

Most people experience solitary or periodic episodes of sciatica; it is severe when it occurs, but it is a minor part of their overall lives.

After all, 80 percent of Americans have back pain or sciatica at some point in their lives, so it’s just part of being human.

While one event may not cause sciatica, some careers may. One study found that physically demanding work is a strong risk factor for sciatica. For men, the jobs associated with higher risk included metal, machine, and other industrial work. For women, the risk was higher among nurses, sales workers, and industrial workers.

Myth 5: If You Have Sciatica, You Should Stay in Bed and Rest

Fact: Most patients do better if they maintain their activity level and avoid excessive rest.

Numerous studies have found that lying in bed has little to no effect on persons with sciatica compared to staying active.

Myth 6: Medication Is the Best Way to Provide Relief From Sciatica

Fact: You would believe that using an analgesic or anti-inflammatory drug would help with sciatic pain, but a systematic review and meta-analysis discovered a lack of evidence for the efficacy of treatments such as NSAIDs, corticosteroids, antidepressants, and opioid analgesics.

Short-term treatment with an anti-inflammatory or the antiseizure medicine gabapentin can be useful to some people.

Patients with persistent severe symptoms that may not react to analgesics or improve with activity adjustment may benefit from epidural steroid injections, which are injections into the epidural space around the spinal cord.

Myth 7: Surgery Is the Only Way to Truly Remedy Sciatica

Fact: Most patients cure within six weeks and do not require surgery.

Other therapies, including physical therapy and epidural injections, may be effective. However, if these treatments fail or there is severe paralysis, numbness, or discomfort, surgery performed by a professional sciatica specialist NYC can significantly and permanently alleviate sciatic pain.

Myth 8: Sometimes Nothing Helps

Fact: Most patients are concerned that there is no treatment or that there is nothing that can be done to alleviate their symptoms. They are also concerned that surgical treatment would be ineffective. Fortunately, high-quality scientific studies have repeatedly demonstrated that most symptoms improve and that surgery, if necessary, is highly beneficial.

Myth 9: Sciatica Cannot Be Prevented

Fact: Although not all cases of sciatica can be prevented, staying active and adopting appropriate forms during activities can help to reduce the incidence and recurrence of lower back pain.

Leave a Reply