All Injury Rehab of North Dallas

Sciatica is a condition in which a herniated or ruptured disc presses on the sciatic nerve, which is the large nerve that extends down the spinal column to its exit point in the pelvis and carries nerve fibers to the leg. The compression that is produced by sciatica causes shock-like or burning lower back pain combined with pain through the buttocks and down one leg to below the knee, occasionally reaching the foot. In the most extreme cases, when the nerve is pinched between the disc and an adjacent bone, the symptoms involve numbness and some loss of motor control over the leg due to interruption of nerve signaling. Sciatica is usually caused by a ruptured or herniated disc that is pressing on a nerve root. It may also be caused by a tumor, a cyst, metastatic disease and / or degeneration of the sciatic nerve root.

As people age, the discs between the vertebrae begin to lose fluid and flexibility, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae. These intervertebral discs are under constant pressure. As discs degenerate and weaken, cartilage can bulge or be pushed into the space containing the spinal cord or a nerve root, causing pain. This rupture may put pressure on one of the more than 50 nerves rooted to the spinal cord that control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain. When these nerve roots become compressed or irritated, back pain results. In approximately 90 percent of cases, a herniated disk is the cause of sciatica.

Although ice and heat, the use of cold and hot compresses, have never been scientifically proven to quickly resolve sciatica, compresses may help reduce pain and inflammation and allow greater mobility for some individuals. As soon as possible following injury, you should apply a cold pack or a cold compress, such as a bag of ice or bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel, to the tender spot several times a day for up to 20 minutes. After two to three days of cold treatment, you should then apply heat, such as a heating lamp or hot pad, for brief periods to relax muscles and increase blood flow. Warm baths may also help relax muscles. Avoid sleeping on a heating pad, which can cause burns and lead to additional tissue damage. Furthermore, exercise and/or physical rehabilitation may be recommended to maintain motion of the spine, strengthen abdominal and back muscles, and build endurance, all of which help stabilize the spine. Some people may be encouraged to try slowly progressive aerobic activity, such as swimming or using exercise bicycles.

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