Where is the sciatic nerve, why is it infringed and how to treat sciatica at home
- 1 Anatomy and function
- 2 Symptoms of infringement
- 3 The reasons
- 4 Diagnostics
- 5 Treatment methods
- 6 Prognosis and prevention
With displacement of the vertebrae, osteochondrosis, bruises, fractures, various diseases, nerve infringement is often observed followed by inflammation – sciatica. In pregnant women, due to anatomical features in the later stages, it is also often diagnosed. The pathology is treated with medication using mainly NSAIDs, physiotherapy, massage, and special gymnastics are also shown.
Anatomy and function
At the level of the two lower lumbar and three sacral vertebrae, nerve fibers leave the spinal cord. They form a massive sacral plexus, passing into the sciatic nerve. It is located on the back of the leg, has several branches (for innervation of the hip, knee joints, muscles), in the popliteal fossa is divided into little and tibial.
Since this nerve contains fibers of a different type, it performs two main functions. The first is a motor one, which provides the transmission of impulses from the brain to the muscles. The second is sensitive, due to which information is transmitted in the opposite direction. That is, there is pain, fever, mechanical damage to the lower limb.
Symptoms of infringement
When the sciatic nerve is pinched, there are several specific signs that can be distinguished from other neuropathies. Main symptoms:
- Pain that suddenly occurs in the lumbar region (“backache”), then extending down to the foot.
- Pulse (“shooting”) nature of pain, varying degrees of severity.
- Different types of paresthesia – burning, stinging, or numbness.
- Mobility restriction.
Pain at the mild stage of the disease is usually described as tolerable, occurring periodically. With a more severe progression of sciatic nerve inflammation, the symptoms become pronounced. Soreness becomes constant, significantly increases during movement, often leads to the inability to sit, bend over, lean on the sore leg.
Nerve infringement is most often diagnosed in adults due to increased physical exertion, injury, muscle spasms. Women are more prone to sciatica during pregnancy due to functional restructuring of the body. Ladies during postmenopause due to hormonal changes also fall into the risk group – calcium deficiency leads to osteochondrosis.
Injuries and hypothermia
Falls or bruises in the lumbosacral region are often accompanied by fractures, disc displacements, and cracks. As a result, the anatomical integrity of the spinal column is broken, the nerve roots are infringed. Prolonged exposure to low temperatures, drafts can also provoke inflammation of the sciatic nerve.
So called degenerative changes in bone and cartilage tissue, leading to spinal deformity. Prolonged static loads during sedentary work, lifting of loads, age factor can cause malfunction of cartilage, displacement or rupture of the discs, curvature of the spine. In postmenopausal women, calcium metabolism is impaired due to estrogen deficiency, which reduces bone density.
Chronic diseases and tumors
Persons with endocrine disorders, metabolic disorders, and joint pathologies are at risk. These include diabetes, obesity, rheumatism. Neoplasms of a different nature (malignant, benign), compressing the nerve as it grows, also often cause chronic specific pain.
Neurotropic herpes viruses that affect the nervous tissue are especially dangerous. For example, the Varicella Zoster virus — the cause of a common baby chickenpox or shingles — in adulthood can cause sciatic nerve inflammation. Inflammatory and infectious processes of bacterial origin also often provoke sciatica. These include syphilis, tuberculosis, scarlet fever, sepsis, typhoid fever, and malaria.
Poisoning is another likely cause of inflammation. Systematic abuse of alcohol has a negative effect on nervous tissue. Peculiarities of professional activities related to toxic substances, heavy metals, require reliable means of protection. Otherwise, chronic intoxication is observed with irreversible effects on the nervous system.
Women in late terms, starting from the 30th week of gestation, often complain of back pain. The main causes are increased loads on the lumbosacral spine, a shift in the center of gravity, pressure on the internal organs of the growing uterus. As a result, deformation occurs, the nerve roots are pinched, and inflammation of the sciatic nerve develops.
This condition, although caused by physiological reasons, also requires treatment.
When referring to a neurologist, anamnesis is first collected and a series of specific tests are performed. In their course, there are decreases in some reflexes (plantar, knee), the presence of characteristic neurological symptoms. In order to establish the cause of the pathology, the following instrumental and laboratory tests are carried out:
- X-ray – allows you to detect damage, displacement of the vertebrae.
- Computed and magnetic resonance imaging – the most informative methods to identify any possible causes of pathology.
- Electroneuromyography – designed to determine the degree of damage by measuring the rate of passage of nerve impulses.
- Blood tests, urine tests help identify various inflammatory processes, evaluate the biochemical composition of blood.
In accordance with the detected causes, treatment of the disease is prescribed.
The main condition for successful treatment of sciatica – an integrated approach. The first important task is usually the relief of painful attacks that interfere with movement, work, reduce the quality of life in general. In parallel, a set of measures to eliminate the causes of pathology and rehabilitation is appointed.
If sciatic nerve pinched is diagnosed, treatment begins with the use of NSAIDs – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory with analgesic effect. These remedies eliminate inflammation while relieving pain. The following dosage forms are used:
- tablets or capsules for oral use – Indomethacin, Ketorolac, Ketoprofen;
- ointments and gels that are applied to the skin, special patches – Voltaren, Indomethacin;
- intramuscular injections of Diclofenac and other NSAIDs.
Effective ointment based on turpentine, pepper extract, camphor. Muscle relaxants, muscle relaxants, are shown to relieve muscle spasms. In severe cases, when the treatment of NSAIDs does not give a positive result, hormonal drugs are used – corticosteroids. Additionally prescribed complexes of vitamins, antioxidants. If the cause of the disease is a viral or bacterial infection, the appropriate antiviral or antibiotics are used.
Another drug treatment for pain syndrome is nerve blockade. It is done as follows. One of the most convenient and safe ways (according to Moore, Voyno-Yasenetsky, front access) at least 20 ml of anesthetic – usually Novocain – is injected deep into soft tissues, as close as possible to the site of inflammation. Only a specialist can perform this injection, since the risk of complications such as damage to the vessel, nerve or bladder is high.
Physiotherapy is shown at the stage of remission, when the pain is gone, but there are residual effects – paresthesias, tissue trophism disturbance, limited movement. Apply electric currents, the influence of a magnetic field, acupuncture.
Massage takes a special place. It can be carried out at home alone, the main condition is caution. The listed manipulations and procedures help to activate the blood flow, restore sensitivity, improve muscle tone.
Special gentle exercises are considered one of the best and most effective therapies. Physical culture allows not only to treat, but also to prevent re-pinching of the sciatic nerve after recovery. A standard complex is a set of bends, bends, turns of the body from different positions of the body. In them the static load is excluded to the maximum, therefore the risk of injuries is insignificant.
The main advantage of this method of treatment is the minimum of contraindications. Gymnastics is allowed even for pregnant women, who cannot take almost all the medications recommended for ordinary patients. In addition, regular classes really for a long time eliminate the cause of the disease, without giving side effects.
A set of exercises, their intensity, the number of approaches are selected by a specialist – exercise therapy doctor. It is necessary to take into account contraindications – arterial hypertension, pathologies of bones or joints. You can do it yourself at home, but you need to do it regularly, do not make any sudden movements, do not overwork. If you experience any pain sensations, you must stop the training. Pregnant women, it is desirable to perform exercises under medical supervision constantly.
Surgical intervention is rarely used. The main indications for it are spinal injuries and intervertebral hernia with significant protrusion or rupture of the disc.
After surgery, the rehabilitation period does not take much time, the patient quickly returns to his usual lifestyle. Surgical treatment is also carried out when a tumor is found that squeezes the nerve in order to remove it.
Pinched sciatic nerve – a diagnosis known for a long time, therefore, non-traditional methods of therapy have accumulated quite a lot. Use of folk remedies is permissible only as a supplement to the main treatment prescribed by a neurologist (and only with its approval). The following can be considered proven and safe:
- Daily sessile baths with hot water and sea salt, if there are no contraindications. Coniferous or other soothing decoctions can be used as an additive.
- Warming compresses with diluted alcohol or normal heated water. The wetted tissue is superimposed on the affected area, insulated with cling film, then wrapped with a warm cloth. Cabbage leaves scalded with boiling water are also recommended.
- Vitamin infusions, for example, from wild rose. As well as berry and fruit drinks, which will help fill the deficit of antioxidants.
It is unacceptable to use local irritants of own cooking on the basis of turpentine, snake or bee venom. Such drugs with verified dosage are sold in pharmacies, and homemade products can be unsafe and aggravate the condition.
Prognosis and prevention
Given the diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities of modern medicine, it is easy to detect and eliminate the cause of sciatica. The main condition for recovery is timely treatment at a medical facility. Mild to moderate forms of the disease are treated quickly, pass without complications. In advanced cases, treatment and recovery can take a long time.
Is it possible to prevent sciatic nerve trapping? A 100% guarantee against the development of this pathology, especially in the elderly, cannot be given. However, a number of the following measures will help to significantly reduce the risk. It is necessary to eat properly, do not abuse alcohol, smoking, move more. Such a lifestyle will help maintain immunity with metabolism.
All diseases must be treated in a timely manner, preventing them from becoming chronic. The deformation of the spine to a large extent contribute to sedentary work, physical inactivity, lack of exercise. Therefore, it is necessary to go in for sports – regular exercises will help strengthen the spine supporting muscular corset.