Lots of issues can cause lower back pain. However, if your back pain is accompanied by pain that radiates into your leg or buttock, there’s a good chance you have sciatica.
Sciatica is a common cause of nagging back pain, and it affects up to 40% of people at some point. At Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation in Pembroke Pines, Florida, David Berkower, DO, helps relieve the pain and irritation of sciatica quickly with custom treatment plans.
Why sciatica happens
The sciatic nerve is a long nerve that exits your lower spine and divides in two, traveling down each leg. Sciatica occurs when this nerve is compressed.
There are lots of risk factors for sciatica, which is one reason why it’s so common. You’re more likely to suffer from sciatica if you have any of these risk factors:
- Smoking habit
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Job that requires prolonged standing
- Poor posture
- Age-related spinal issues, such as arthritis
Since sciatica involves a nerve, your symptoms can occur anywhere along the nerve pathway, from your lower back all the way down your leg. Sciatica usually only affects one side of the body, and in addition to lower back pain, the condition often causes symptoms like:
- Pain or burning sensations in the buttock or leg
- Dull aching in the buttock or leg
- Tingling or numbness in your back, buttock, or leg
Without medical treatment, severe sciatica can wind up causing permanent nerve damage.
Quick relief for sciatica symptoms
Sciatica often resolves on its own with a little TLC. Of course, when you’re experiencing those painful symptoms, it can feel like it takes forever to find relief. The good news is there are some simple things you can do to start feeling better quickly.
Use ice and heat
Applying ice packs and a heating pad to your lower back can help you get quick relief for sciatica pain. Ice can help relieve inflammation around the sciatic nerve, and heat can help relax tight muscles and increase circulation in the area. Limit use to no more than 15 minutes every hour or so. A hot bath or hot shower can also help relax tight muscles.
Try over-the-counter medicines
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Use these over-the-counter medications as directed. If they don’t provide relief, don’t increase the recommended dosage without calling the office first.
Do some stretching
Stretching can help relax extra-tight muscles, improve circulation, and reduce inflammation. Just remember to start slowly, and don’t use any abrupt movements that could make your symptoms worse. Try these 10 stretches to get started.
Be aware of your posture
Slouching and slumping can put excess pressure on your lower back, which, in turn, can lead to strained muscles and inflammation. If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, make sure to sit up straight with both feet on the floor, and use a lumbar pillow to support your lower back.
Use a pillow
For many people, sciatica symptoms feel worse at night, interfering with a good night’s sleep. If sciatica bothers you at bedtime, try bending your legs slightly, using a pillow to support them. If you’re a side sleeper, bend your knees and use a pillow between them to reduce pressure on your lower back.
Dr. Berkower uses injections to provide quick relief for sciatica pain. He administers epidural corticosteroid injections to the space around your spine (the epidural space) to relieve inflammation and swelling. He can also provide intramuscular injections of corticosteroids or Botox® to relax tight muscles that are contributing to sciatic nerve compression.
Long-term relief for sciatica pain
Having your sciatica symptoms evaluated early is important to make sure your treatment addresses the underlying cause of the nerve irritation. Dr. Berkower is skilled at evaluating sciatica symptoms to ensure each treatment program is optimized for fast relief and long-term healing.
To learn more, call 954-430-9972 or book an appointment online with Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation today.