They start in the buttocks and end in the foot: sciatica pain. In most cases, a dislocated intervertebral disc is responsible: it squeezes the nerve, which reacts promptly with pain.
The mourning pain comes from the butt and shoots into the leg, sometimes even into the foot: sciatica! Already the Greeks of antiquity knew this pain, they called it sciatica, hip-sore, because the pain apparently arises in the hip and buttocks. In the vast majority of cases, however, the problem is in the spine : Often, a herniated disc is the cause. The pain is not a disease but a sign that the sciatica nerve is pinched: the high pressure irritates the nerve or squeezes it so that it emits pain impulses .
About five to ten percent of all people with a damaged lower back know the problem, the correct medical name is ischialgia, lumbo-ischialia, or radical cross-pain. Very typical is the pain that runs from the buttocks along the back of the leg, sometimes piercing and burning, sometimes like an electric shock. Parts of the leg tingling or feeling asleep. If you cough or sneeze, the pain worsens.
The sciatic nerve extends from the back to the foot
The sciatica nerve is the longest nerve in our body. Its roots originate from the spinal cord in the lower part of the spine and form a braid. This results in the sciatica nerve. It runs down over the buttocks and hips on each leg, dividing itself above the knee into two smaller nerves: the peroneal nerve and the tibial nerve. Their branches extend to their feet. Without these nerves, we would feel very little in our legs and could no longer move some muscles.
Presses a slipped disc to one or more roots of the sciatica, hurt the buttocks and the leg to the foot, usually along the strip of the skin, which is supplied by the respective nerve cord. Some people have only slight pain, others can hardly move. In most cases only one leg is affected. The areas may feel numb or tingling as if ants were running along. Sometimes the muscles are so weak that you can not put on your toes.
Fortunately, acute, sudden symptoms of Ischia disappear at the latest after a few weeks. However, the matter can become chronic: scarcely a third of all affected persons still have a sciatica pain after one year. Therefore, it is best to consult the doctor if you are only limping because of your sciatica nerve.
Who smokes, who is particularly large and who lives under a lot of stress, incidentally has an increased risk of getting an acute ischialia. People who are physically hard or who have to lift a lot and are bending and twisting are also endangered. Most sufferers are between 45 and 64 years old when they fall over the pain.
If you suffer from ischialia and if you have problems controlling your bladder or bowel, please go to the doctor immediately. After all, a severe intervertebral disc can occur . The intervertebral disk then paralyzes the nerve roots responsible for the sphincters of the bladder and rectum. In this case, medical experts speak of the so-called cauda-equina syndrome . If the diagnosis is confirmed, the specialist will advise you of a herniated disc operation, because otherwise your bladder may become paralyzed.
An ischemia can have various causes. In nine out of ten cases, a dislocated intervertebral disc presses the roots of sciatica. The consequences are pain, numbness and numbness in the leg and foot.
A specialist can determine with special methods whether you actually have those radicular cross pain. Pseudoradicular pain may also be involved. They are not caused by a squeezed sciatica nerve, but by tense muscles or an oblique standing cross-legged joint. This feels similar to an ischialia, but the pain spreads differently over the leg, and the pain usually only reaches to the knee.
Sometimes the spine has become too tight
The symptoms of ischialgia can also be caused by other diseases. If the inner part of the spinal column – the spinal canal – has become too tight, for example, due to wear , the many nerves can be pinched somewhere. If this happens at the nerve roots in the region of the loins, the typical sciatica pain can develop.
Even if vertebrae move against each other, they can squeeze the sciatica nerve at the point where it leaves the vertebral column. Very rarely do tumors on the vertebral column cause the pain. An accident, surgery or inflammation can also damage the sciatic nerve or its nerve roots.
A detailed consultation with your doctor is particularly important. Describe to him what pain , numbness or numbness you have and where they occur. Also tell him when and how your symptoms arose for the first time, and whether, for example, cough, certain movements, or postures affect the pain. If you have a tumor or other serious illness, tell your doctor.
With special examinations the orthopaedist can determine whether your complaints actually originate from the sciatica nerve . She will ask you to lie or sit in special positions. The doctor will then move your leg without you having to participate. So she finds out how irritated the nerve is in a certain area of the spine .
The expert will do the Lasègue test with you in any case. If you lie down on your back, the doctor slowly lifts her stretched leg until it is in two distinct positions. If you feel pain right in the area, which already hurt before the examination, the diagnosis is clearly: Ischialgie. If you only experience back pain in this examination, the test result is negative and the orthopedic system is looking for further causes.
Maybe your nerves are so tormented that they can not properly do their duty. To find out, the doctor tests your reflexes: Using the hammers, for example, she can test the knee reflex. It will also check if your nerves can still touch your skin. For this purpose, she simply passes the affected areas on both legs.
In addition, the orthopaedist will ask you to do certain exercises, for example, walking on your heels or toes, standing on one leg or lifting your big toe. If certain movements are not possible, the doctor can tell exactly which nerve roots are damaged in the vertebrae.
If your pain is very strong or if you do not feel better after one to two weeks, the doctor can suggest further checks. Using so-called imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance tomography (MRI), an intervertebral disc can be detected in the cross.
On radiographs, however, the discs are not visible. The images can only show if a tumor is the cause of the pain. This can be an MRI, however, just as well. In contrast to computer tomography and x-ray imaging, this method has no side effects because it works with magnetism instead of harmful x-rays.
If the suspicion is that a serious injury or a tumor is behind your symptoms, the doctor will advise you to consult a specialist and issue a referral.
When walking is painful, most people are careful: they lie down in bed or on the sofa and hope for improvement. This is understandable – medically speaking but wrong: Longer bed rest makes nothing better, instead everything is possibly even worse.
Your doctor will prescribe you tablets for pain pills or syringes . Then you can stay active without complaints and follow your usual routine. Movement causes the tormented sciatica nerve to recover more quickly than a rigid preservation. Of course, you may be able to lie down now and then, if the pain becomes too strong.
You may also already be using tablets with the active ingredient paracetamol. Such pills you get without a prescription in the pharmacy. In addition, your doctor may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatories with drugs such as diclofenac or ibuprofen. Combination preparations, such as paracetamol with soothing codeine, also combat the pain. If it does not help, your doctor may use drugs with morphine.
Sometimes your doctor will also spray the syringe : Then he injects you a local anesthetic into the vertebral canal or near the affected nerve roots. He can also inject so-called glucocorticoids, which are hormones that can inhibit inflammation and thus alleviate the pain . If the disc is already very displaced, surgeons can remove the affected disc completely or partially. However, such an operation is rarely necessary.
It is not scientifically proven whether home remedies such as massages , cold or heat packs work. What is certain, however, is: away from chirotherapy ! In the case of an ischemia, the physician should not attempt to bring displaced or twisted vertebrae back into their normal position. This method is by no means suitable for sciatica pain.
Even if the pain torments you violently: Short lie down and rest is all right. But do not stay in bed with your sciatica. Bed rest relieves the symptoms, but does not help you back to the legs faster. On the contrary.
To stay active while you are experiencing acute sciatica, choose the best exercises that will not aggravate your discomfort. This can be for example water gymnastics or regular cycling on a home coach.
When your pain subsides, you can start exercising regularly. A targeted training builds up your back muscles and prevents misuse. There are many gyms that offer special programs. Ask your doctor for advice on what can do you good.
If your sciatica still does not improve after 1 to 2 weeks, you should go back to the doctor. You may need another painkiller or the actual cause of the pain is not yet found.