When the longest nerve in your body gets compressed, what else can be expected other than excruciating pain? You must be feeling this pain and discomfort right from the back region of your pelvis, traveling to your buttocks and legs, and ending at your feet. Is that correct?
Some patients do know the answer to the question, can sciatica go away? Of course, it can. But not many know the answer to the question, how long does sciatica pain last? So it’s time we address that. Below you will find everything you need to know about sciatica pain.
What is Sciatica?
Before I tell you anything about sciatica and sciatica pain, you should know that the former is not a condition but a symptom of the development of some condition in the sciatic nerve. And this is what causes sciatica pain.
Any kind of pain or discomfort originating due to the injury or damage caused to the sciatic nerve is known as sciatica. The term is merely used to describe pain stemming from the sciatic nerve.
It can be a severe or mild pain depending on how seriously damaged or compressed the nerve root is in your lower spine. Back pain is not the same as sciatica pain so don’t confuse the two. Because the treatment of sciatica pain is completely different and a lot more demanding than that of back pain.
There is only one very wide and long nerve in our body and it’s called sciatic nerve. The nerve starts from the lumbar or lower back region, running along the buttocks and legs down till the feet. What the sciatic nerve does is effectively control the muscles located in the lower region of the legs. And it’s because of this nerve that your lower legs respond to touch.
Sciatic Nerve Causes
What does sciatica feel like? When the longest nerve in your body, the one that does the job of carrying nerve signals that enable the movement of the muscles located in your lower legs, gets compressed, the repercussions along with pain can be catastrophic. The sciatic nerve is responsible for the sensations you feel in the feet, calves, and thighs.
So what causes sciatica? Any condition that somehow constantly compresses the sciatic nerve gives rise to sciatica. These conditions can be a result of herniated discs in the lower back region. Herniated discs are caused due to the inevitable process of aging.
What I mean to say is that, more often than not, the changes your body undergoes during aging causes the spinal cord to deteriorate, which means the shock-absorbent quality of the bone’s cartilage tends to wear out.
And once this happens, the development of a gelatinous substance in the cartilage causes it to ooze out and constantly push against the sciatic nerve. This condition can also be caused due to degenerative arthritis. In fact, degenerative arthritis may result in pinching the root of your sciatic nerve, something that is known to be extremely painful.
Other common sciatic nerve causes are direct injury or damage to the spine due to a fatal accident and over-straining muscles of the lower back. The latter makes the lower back muscles very tight, which tends to generate unwanted tension in the sciatic nerve.
Situations like heavy-weight lifting, driving, being seated for longer periods of time and diabetes are also what causes sciatica. While one very rare sciatic nerve cause is the development of tumor either in the spinal cord or the sciatic nerve itself.
Sciatic Nerve Symptoms
The sciatica pain depends on how severe the sciatica nerve symptoms are. One of the most common sciatic nerve symptoms is severe pain in the sciatic nerve. The pain in the nerve is found anywhere between the lower spine and your feet. In most cases, this shooting pain is experienced in only one leg. The level of pain answers the question of the sciatica pain last.
Many patients wonder, can sciatica go away? In such a case, it definitely can but only if you make sure that you’re not seated for longer periods of time. Some other common sciatic nerve symptoms are tingling sensation felt in the toes and the feet and complete numbness in one leg (where the pain exists).
How Long Does Sciatica Pain Last?
Now you know all about what does sciatica feels like, what causes sciatica and the sciatic nerve symptoms. But knowing how long does sciatica pain lasts is a little difficult as the treatment of the condition depends on how mild or severe the symptoms are.
It is known that one single sciatica episode can remain for as long as a few months. But if the condition that’s compressing the sciatic nerve is not a very serious one, then the pain exists only for a few days.
The sciatic nerve symptoms have the tendency to subside within a matter of days. And when this happens, it doesn’t mean that the problem is resolved. It only means that the pain might return after a few days if you do absolutely nothing to treat the sciatic nerve compression.
So how long does sciatica pain if you don’t treat it soon? Probably for a few months. Because if the source of the sciatic nerve compression is not identified and subjected to proper care and treatment, the condition might aggravate and lead to chronic damage.
And as soon as this happens, the sciatica pain takes even longer to get cured. But if you eliminate the source from its very root, then the compressed or pinched sciatic nerve will take at least six months to completely heal itself.
How to Cure Sciatica:
Did you know that sciatica can be cured with a few simple stretches? If you are experiencing pain in the back and legs, try these out.
1) Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Bend one knee up towards your chest and then place both hands on top of it to help stretch it further. Repeat this on the other leg.
2) Lie flat on your stomach while supporting yourself by placing both hands under your shoulders for support. Tilt from side to side using only your stomach muscles for movement instead of bending at the waist or hips like most people do when they do this exercise. This should feel like a deep massage for all those tight muscles!
3) Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Put a rolled-up towel or yoga mat behind one leg and bend that knee slightly while keeping the other fully extended. Gently lean forward onto the bent leg, then return to standing upright again on both legs. Repeat this stretch four times before switching sides.
4) Wear Proper Shoes
Providing your feet with the proper support is vital to prevent sciatica. The wrong shoes can change a person’s center of gravity and cause back pain by transmitting pressure in an unnatural way to the spine. So, it’s important for those who have any type of lower-back or leg pain that they wear supportive insoles like those from Sole Insoles to make sure their weight is evenly distributed across all points on the foot. You can find some sciatica shoes to wear to cure it.
Can sciatica go away? In most cases, it does go away in a few weeks but only if proper treatment is being done. This treatment involves exercising, taking medication prescribed by the doctor, or simply using cold or hot packs.
Top 3 Exercises for Sciatica and Pinched Nerve
Now remember that I’m talking about sciatica here and not the condition that’s causing the pain. So these remedies might help reduce the symptoms but the condition that’s actually causing the sciatic nerve compression or pinching is something that your doctor will be able to cure.
So it is always a better idea to seek professional medical help if you want to get rid of not only sciatica but also the very source of all that nerve pain.
So for how long does sciatica pain last? And did the article help in gaining some knowledge about sciatica?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and let me know if I have missed out on anything.