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Chronic Sciatica: Causes and Treatment Options for Chronic Sciatica

What is Chronic Sciatica?

Chronic Sciatica is debilitating pain that lasts for an extended period of time, typically for longer than a three-month duration. It is pressure and compression on the sciatic nerve or one of the other nerve roots found in the spine that connects to the sciatic nerve.

Sciatic pain includes low-back pain or chronic back pain, leg pain, tingling, or numbness that is produced due to the irritation of the sciatic nerve in the lower back. The sciatic nerve goes down through the buttock and then branches out and extends down the back of the legs and to the ankle and foot.

Cause of Sciatica

Several factors could cause sciatic nerve pain including:

  1. Herniate Disc: A bulging or ruptured disc in the spine is pressing against the nerve roots leading down to the sciatic nerve.
  2. Spinal Stenosis: A narrowing of the spinal canal. It is common, but it does require a medical diagnosis and lab tests or imaging may be ordered. It is also a chronic condition that can continue for years or be a lifelong condition.
  3. Bone Spurs: Small, bony growths that form along joints generally caused by arthritis. Bone spurs are most commonly found in joints where two or more bones come together. They can also form where muscles, ligaments, or tendons attach to the bones.
  4. Pinched Nerve: Nerve compression of the lower spinal nerves that can be caused by an injury. The pain can radiate along the sciatic nerve and run down both legs causing pain, numbness, or even weakness that can radiate through the arms or chest area.

Of all the above causes, the most common cause of chronic sciatica is a herniate disc. Some herniated discs may exhibit no symptoms and the injury may not need medical attention or intervention. However, if the disc irritates any of the nerves, then the result will be persistent pain and may require medication, physical therapy, and, in more extreme cases, surgery.

How is Chronic Sciatica Diagnosed?

If you fear that you may have symptom of sciatica, then a medical professional will be interested in your family history and will require that you undergo a physical at the appointment. After this, they may order additional imaging and tests to determine the exact cause and location of the pain you are experiencing.

  • An X-ray can be done to look for any fractures that may be present and can also pinpoint any bone spurs or other issues. Sciatica itself will not show up on an X-ray because it is nerve irritation. The X-ray is only looking at the bones and how they are forming.
  • An MRI or computed tomography can be used to show how the vertebral discs, ligaments, and muscles are aligned. It will provide a good image of the spinal cord and the nerves to determine if there are any abnormalities.
  • Electromyography or an EMG, is a diagnostic procedure that helps the doctor to assess the health of the muscles and nerve cells. Motor neurons transmit electrical signals that cause the muscles to contract. The EMG procedure uses electrodes to transmit or detect these signals.
  • A less invasive test known as the straight leg raise test is most commonly done by the doctor during the physical portion of the exam. The patient will lay on their back with their legs stretched straight out. The doctor will slowly raise one leg at a time and will note the elevation of the leg when the pain begins.

Treatment for Chronic Sciatica

Typically, the treatment for Chronic Sciatica depends on the severity of the condition after it is diagnosed. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help some people manage the pain but chronic sciatica may require physical therapy or surgery depending on the situation and how much pain is involved.

Exercise, applied heat, and other such techniques can help the pain become more manageable, but sciatica is just a symptom, not a condition. The overlying issue, such as a herniated disc, must be dealt with as well.

Prescription painkillers such as mild opiate-based painkillers are often prescribed to help alleviate the pain associated with the symptoms of chronic sciatica, but they can become addictive, so it is also recommended that aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs muscle relaxants be tried first to control the pain.

Physical therapy and exercise are important because the exercises will help strengthen the back muscles while improving the patient’s flexibility. These techniques will ultimately help the patient learn how to prevent putting any unnecessary and added strain on their back.

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps patients with chronic pain learn how to respond to their pain in different ways and trains them to have different reactions.

Immediate Pain Relief Options

If you are waiting to get in to see the doctor and are in strenuous amounts of pain, other options are affordable and fast acting to help relieve some of the pain due to chronic sciatica. No one likes to suffer and be in constant pain, any and all relief is a good thing.

Topical pain relief treatments can come in the form of sprays, creams, gels, or patches that you can apply directly to the area where you are feeling the most pain. There are options for swelling, skin irritation, or joint pain relief as well. A patch is a slow release option that can prolong the benefits and the time that you can experience the pain relief aspects of the medicine.

therapin plus spray image

Therapin Plus is a deep penetrating spray that provides pain relief without the sticky mess that you experience with other gels and creams. It has a high combination of concentrated glucosamine and MSM Muscle Joint and does not include any harsh chemicals or other cancer forming agents.

Therapin Plus is an all-natural pain relief solution. There are also no dangerous side effects when using this product, and it works quickly and efficiently to relieve backache pain and strain.

  • Over 500 sprays so it lasts a long time
  • No dangerous side effects
  • Non-greasy, no smell, and won’t stain your clothing
  • Natural ingredients penetrate and absorb effectively and act as a natural skin conditioner
  • Provides 28 times more Glucosamine and MSM

Active Ingredients

  • Natural I-Menthol 2%
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Water
  • 7,000 mg Glucosamine Sulfate
  • 7,000 mg Methyl Sulfonyl Methane
  • Peppermint and Eucalyptus
  • Natural skin conditioner

Price

Size

$28.45

4 Ounces

Always consult a doctor before beginning any treatment for pain. A medical professional will be able to help pinpoint the exact cause of the pain and can help come up with a plan to learn how to manage or even eliminate the pain.

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