Even though it may sound surprising, about four people out of ten can get irritation or inflammation in the sciatic nerve and sciatica at some point in their lives. Sciatic nerves arise from either side of the lower part of the spine and run through the pelvis and the buttocks. Then it passes along the back of the thighs to reach the knees from where they divide into branches to go to the feet.
What causes sciatica pain?
Anything which may exert pressure on the nerves or causes irritation may lead to unmanageable pain in the back of the buttocks and the thighs. The sensation and intensity of the pain can vary from one individual to another. It may be similar to a mild ache or a sharp, burning sensation leading to extreme discomfort. It can also cause a burning, tingling or numbing sensation.
What medications are available for sciatica pain?
There is a broad range of medications available, which can relieve sciatica pain such as over-the-counter painkillers including Aspirin, Acetaminophen and other NSAIDs like Ibuprofen, ketoprofen, and naproxen. But doctors advise not to give aspirin to any person aged below 18 years as it can increase the risk of Reye’s syndrome. They recommend muscle relaxants for easing muscle spasms and anti-depressants for the chronic low back ache. If the pain is intolerably severe, prescription drugs can also be administered.
In some cases, steroid medications can be injected into the area that is in close vicinity to the spinal nerve. Injections have a considerable effect when the sciatic irritation is caused due to the exertion of pressure from any herniated or ruptured disk.
What are the alternative treatments for sciatica pain?
Even though sciatica pain may make it difficult for you to be active, bed rest is not at all recommended for people affected by it. If you are newly affected by this ailment, some positions and activities may appear to be more comfortable than others. Physical therapy is highly recommended for providing sciatica pain relief and therefore, it is crucial to work with an expert to know which positions and activities would be suitable for you.
Biofeedback is a technique which helps in controlling the physical procedures of the body including heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension. It works with the help of a piece of equipment, which provides information displayed. With the help of this information, it becomes possible to have conscious control of these procedures, which can also treat sciatica pain to some extent.
Acupuncture is yet another effective treatment using fine needles inserted at precise pressure points. The actual theory behind using acupuncture treatment is that pain is caused by imbalances or hindrances in the flow of energy and that acupuncture can help in relieving these hindrances and restore proper balances. It can also stimulate the nervous system by stimulating the pressure points. This can trigger the release of certain chemicals, which can alter the experience of pain while promoting a sense of well-being.