If you’ve ever suffered from sciatica pain, you know how the symptoms can disrupt your life. In many cases, the symptoms of sciatica make everyday tasks such as sitting and bending overwhelming.
In this article, we’ll explore what sciatica is, how long sciatica lasts, and some tips to speed up your recovery and take back control of your life.
First, what is sciatica?
Sciatica is pain felt by the sciatic nerve, which can be traveled along one leg or both legs – Pain usually begins in the lower back (lumbar region). The estimated lifetime prevalence of sciatica ranges from 1.2% to 43% in various regions, with discogenic sciatica accounting for 90% of cases; However, there are various other possible causes of sciatica symptoms, including:
Lumbar spinal stenosis.
• Degenerative disease of the joints.
• Sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
• Abnormal spinal movement.
• Piriformis syndrome.
• Muscle fatigue.
• Ankylosing spondylitis.
• Tumors, infections or fractures.
Sciatica is usually caused by a herniated disc in the lower back and may be accompanied by other symptoms, including neurological disorders such as numbness and / or tingling in the lower extremity, pain in the lower extremities, as well as than disability and lower back pain. .
The pain associated with sciatica can range from mild pain to severe pain, making simple daily tasks such as sitting, bending, walking and standing almost impossible.
How long does sciatica last?
80% to 90% of sciatica improves with time and rest, with 50% of patients improving within 6 weeks.
However, some cases do not resolve and require surgery – in about 10% to 40% of these patients, symptoms progress to chronic pain syndrome, also known as failed back surgery syndrome.
Unfortunately, it is difficult for healthcare professionals to determine which patients will have poor results during the early stages of sciatica.
Tips for speeding up recovery from sciatica
Although most cases of sciatica get better on their own with time and rest, there are steps you can take to speed up your recovery. We describe some of these tips below:
1. Using ice and heat therapy
Applying ice to the affected area every 15 to 48 minutes for the first 48 to 72 hours can help reduce inflammation and numb the area. After the first 72 hours, applying a moist heat pack to the affected area every 20 minutes can help soothe tight muscles and increase blood flow to the area, thereby relieving symptoms. Watch this video on Ice Vs Heat .
2. Frequently change positions
Try to sit, stand, and lie down every 15 minutes or so. Staying in the same position for too long can lead to increased pressure and pain, while movement can help relieve symptoms of sciatica.
3. Sit properly
At the very least, avoid sitting for long periods of time, as sitting places extra pressure on the sciatic nerve and can make your symptoms worse. When you need to sit down, there are a few things to keep in mind for sciatica pain relief. Keep your hips and knees bent at a 45-degree angle, your feet flat on the floor, and avoid crossing your legs. Also, use wheels located at the bottom of your chair. Instead of twisting your torso, use your chair to move your whole body.
4. Stay active
You can rest for a day or two, but it’s important to stay as active as possible. Inactivity makes your back muscle weakened and deconditioned; While exercise helps relieve symptoms of sciatica by keeping your back, hip and core muscles strong and flexible which helps support your spine and maintain good posture. Plan for at least 30 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, cycling or swimming, at least five times a week.
5. Perform sciatica exercises and stretches
Performing specific sciatica exercises as soon as the first symptoms appear can help relieve the pain associated with sciatica. Check out these natural sciatica exercises for pain relief.
6. Increase the strength and mobility of your hips and spine
Your hips move in a wide range of motion; However, often with prolonged sitting, the muscles and ligaments around the hips tighten, resulting in loss of movement. This reduced movement may not seem apparent to you, but it does have an effect on your spine, increasing the stress and load on vital structures in the spine. By improving the strength and mobility of your hips, you will help reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve and minimize your symptoms.
A few simple tips can help relieve many cases of sciatica. However, if you are suffering from persistent symptoms that are interfering with your ability to lead a healthy, active lifestyle, it may be time to seek professional help.