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Sciatica – causes, side effects and treatments at

Friday, June 22, 2018 by

Sciatica describes a set of symptoms associated with the pain, numbness, or weakness in the sciatica nerve, the largest nerve in the body. As such, sciatica is not a diagnosis in itself but characterizes a group of pain-causing manifestations.

The medical term for sciatica is radiculopathy, taken from two words that mean the pinching or irritation of the radicular nerve (nerve root).

Most people with the condition report feeling a numbness or tingling in their thighs, lower legs, or soles of their feet. The pain can start from the lower back and extend to the extremities, depending on how severe the sciatica has progressed.

Typical causes of sciatica include a ruptured intervertebral disk, a narrowing of the spinal canal, and a mechanical injury such as a pelvic fracture.

In some cases, no cause can be found and the sciatica develops spontaneously.

Sciatica can resolve itself; but most patients prefer a quicker recovery process, choosing various treatment methods which may include some form of physical therapy.

Known symptoms of sciatica

Sciatica causes pain, tingling, or numbness anywhere along the sciatica nerve. This includes the lower back, the buttocks, the back of the thighs, calves, feet, and toes.

Body systems harmed by sciatica

The condition damages the sciatic nerve.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent sciatica

A healthy diet is crucial in preventing inflammation in the body, a suspected cause of sciatica. There are no specific food items that can prevent the condition. That being said, nutritionists recommend avoiding these foods that have been proven to promote inflammation.

  • Refined grains
  • Added sugars
  • Saturated Fats
  • Trans-fats

Treatments, management plans for sciatica

Patients with acute symptoms may opt for hot or cold compression packs to reduce the pain being felt. It often helps to alternate between the two. For the next couple of days, it is likewise advised to avoid suddenly standing, stretching, or bending.

Chronic treatments usually involve physical therapy.

Surgery may become an option if no relief can be found after a few months and if the pain continues to intensify. Surgical options may include:

  • Lumbar laminectomy – This widens the spinal cord in the lower back, reducing the pressure on the nerves.
  • Discectomy – This is the partial or complete removal of a herniated disk.

Where to learn more


Sciatica is not a diagnosis, but describes a set of symptoms linked to the feelings of pain or numbness along the sciatica nerve.

Sciatica can go away on its own but some people may want faster relief through medications and/or surgery.

Chronic symptoms may require some form of physical therapy.

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