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Sciatica refers to nerve pain that travels down the pathway of the sciatic nerve, which starts from the lower back and continues through the hip, the buttock area, and down the leg. It commonly occurs when there is a pinched nerve due to bone spurs, herniated disc, or spinal stenosis (narrowing of spinal joints). When that happens, there is often an injury to a nerve, whether be it inflammation, irritation, or compression of a nerve on the low back.
Sciatic pain can be constant pain, or it can be on and off sensations. Patients often describe it as "sharp, shooting pain" or like "electric shocks" down the leg. The pain scale can a lot of variation, from a dull aching sore sensation to an excruciating pain along the nerve. It can also be accompanied by symptoms of numbness or weakness down the particular leg. Oftentimes it affects one side of the body.
Some risk factors for sciatic pain is the overall aging process, as well as obesity, as the extra weight causes overloading and strain on the spinal column. Other factors include improper lifting posture in the gym while handling heavy weights, or the other end of the spectrum being a generally inactive and sedentary lifestyle. Both can cause damage to the vertebrae.
There are many ways to decrease the stress on the spine and relieve the radiculopathy or nerve pain. One of the most effective methods is to use spinal decompression machines to relieve the pressure on the spinal joints. Manual therapy, chiropractic, and physiotherapy are also effective in alleviating the symptoms of nerve pain. Regular exercises and a healthy diet, as well as observing proper ergonomy while at your work station, those also help to maintain spinal health and reduce risk of being diagnosed with sciatica.