Sciatic back pain can best be understood by taking a look at where the sciatic nerve resides. There are two sciatic nerves, one on each side of the bodyrunning from the lower spine, behind the hip joint, and continuing down to the back of the knee. At the knee, the sciatic nerve branches out and continues down the leg to the foot. Pain can be experienced at any point along the pathway of the sciatic nerve when there is damage or impingement at the origin.
Sciatic back pain is more appropriately a symptom rather than a diagnosis since it is generally the result of an irritation of the sciatic nerve. The most common cause of sciatic back pain is a herniated disc at the L5 or S1 level. The pressure from a herniation on the root of the sciatic nerve can cause weakness, numbness, or excruciating pain in the lower extremities of the affected side.
In order to obtain relief from sciatic back pain, the root cause must be addressed. It is often necessary to do extensive diagnostic testing (such as an MRI) to observe damage to the spinal column where the sciatic nerve enters. Once the pressure is off the nerve, the pain and other symptoms generally go away. Standard comfort measures such as rest, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy are beneficial in alleviating the pain.
Sciatica Home Treatments
Compression of the sciatic nerve can occur in various locations and the exact cause and location is not always known. Treating the symptoms can be helpful to manage the pain but treating the source of the compression will result in faster sciatica relief. We recommend that you see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and to determine the cause of the compression on the sciatic nerve.
If the compression is caused by swelling, you can reduce your pain by applying a Freezie Wrap® when the pain first occurs, to alleviate the swelling that is causing the compression on the nerve. Once the initial pain is reduced, treat the soft tissue inflammation with cold compression for fast relief of sciatica pain.