Treating Sciatica

Those experiencing pain in the lower back or hip that extends into the back of the thigh and leg may have a common condition known as sciatica.

Sciatica may feel like an intense leg cramp, with sharp, shooting pain. This crampy feeling can last for weeks, and can also cause muscles to feel weak and numb.

Those between the ages of 30 and 50 are at the greatest risk for developing this condition. It can occur simply from the wear and tear of muscles over time or any sudden pressure on the vertebrae, but most commonly develops from a herniated disk. The herniated disk puts pressure on the nerve roots that become the sciatic nerve. These nerve roots will likely become inflamed and irritated, thereby increasing pain.

It’s important to meet with your doctor to diagnose and treat sciatica. Be prepared to offer a complete medical history, including details on where and when your pain started and how it feels. Your physician will likely conduct a physical examination to pinpoint the issue, and may ask you to do various exercises, or order X-rays or an MRI.

In severe circumstances, sciatica can be treated surgically. Most often, however, the condition will heal itself after adequate time and rest. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, can help to manage the pain, though you’ll need to consult with your doctor before taking any medication. Although resting the affected area is of the utmost importance, some movement is essential to the recovery process. Movement will help to reduce inflammation, which reduces pain. Every circumstance is different, and sometimes your physician may suggest cortisone injections and/or physical therapy.

If you’re having issues with sciatica, contact Campbell Clinic to meet with a physician. For more information about Campbell Clinic, please visit our website.

This blog post was adapted from AAOS.

At-Home Stretches to Help Beat Back Pain

Being sedentary all day, especially at a desk, can have a number of negative effects on your body, but most notably puts you at higher risk for low back pain. In large part, this is due to poor posture while sitting, and may be improved for some patients by back and core-strengthening exercises.

backpainAt Campbell Clinic, our physicians recommend maintaining good posture while sitting to prevent back injury. Specifically, while sitting at a desk and looking at a computer, keep your chin drawn down and shoulder blades comfortably retracted. Adjust the setup of your desk if need be, so that you may easily attain good posture. Be sure to take breaks and walk around frequently throughout the workday, to relieve any prolonged pressure on your spine.

The physicians at Campbell Clinic Spine Center have developed exercises to serve as home-remedies for back pain. These exercises work to strengthen and stretch the muscles of the back.

  • Lumbar Spine Stretch: Prone
    Support yourself on your hands and knees. Gently round your back like a cat and hold for 20 seconds before returning to your starting position.
  • Lumbar Spine Stretch: Knees to Side
    Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Slowly bend your legs and hips to the left. You may place your left hand on the top of your right knee to deepen the stretch. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Return to your starting position before repeating this exercise on the opposite side.
  • Pelvic Tilts
    Lie on your back with your knees bent. Gently pull your navel toward the floor as your pelvis slowly rotates up from the bottom. Hold the position for three to five seconds before returning to the starting position. For best results, repeat this exercise three to five times.

For more information and to view visual demonstrations of these exercises, please visit our Exercises You Can Do at Home page.