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3 Best Practices for Dealing With Sciatica

3 Best Practices for Dealing With Sciatica

Whether it’s your first experience with sciatica or you’ve been down this lower back pain road before, you’re all too aware that this is one health issue that’s best left in the rearview mirror.

Unfortunately, the lifetime prevalence for sciatica is fairly high — it ranges between 10% and 40%. So this common lower back problem may not be completely avoidable, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risks of it striking again.

To help you better weather a sciatica flare-up and to prevent another one down the road, our team here at Complete Neurological Care assembled a few best practices for dealing with this type of back pain.

The road to sciatica

Before we get into best practices, it’s a good idea to quickly review what you’re up against when you have sciatica. 

Your sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body and is formed by five nerve roots that exit your lumbar spine and come together to form one large nerve. This nerve extends from your low back and splits to travel down into each of your legs.

When you have sciatica, something is pressing on this nerve, and in up to 90% of cases, that something is a herniated lumbar disc. Less commonly, conditions like lumbar spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis can lead to sciatica.

Solid sciatica strategies

Now that you have a clearer picture of this nerve entrapment issue, let’s look at how to best manage sciatica.

Get help for your sciatica

If you’re reading this because you’re in the midst of a sciatica flare-up and you’re dealing with some considerable pain and limitations, we want you to come see us. 

For starters, we want to confirm that it's sciatica so we can make sure you’re doing the right things to heal quickly. If it is sciatica, we typically start with conservative treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medications and gentle exercises and stretches that release the nerve. 

We may also recommend some activity modifications and rest.

If your symptoms persist, we may turn to corticosteroid injections to more effectively tackle the pain and the inflammation in your nerves.

Know your risks for sciatica

Once we help you through your sciatica flare-up, we want to turn your focus to ways in which you might prevent it from coming back. There are some risk factors that you may not be able to change, such as age and wear-and-tear, but there are others that you can address, such as:

Outside of smoking, each of these risk factors places added stress on the discs in your lower back, making them far more vulnerable to herniation and sciatica.

Strengthen your core muscles

A fantastic way to avoid lower back issues of all kinds, including sciatica, is to strengthen the muscles in your core, which include your back and abdominal muscles.

Your spine doesn’t act alone and can very much benefit from some support, which can prevent premature wear-and-tear in your discs.

To get started, here are some core exercises that will benefit your entire spine and leave you far less at risk for conditions like sciatica.

If you have more questions about sciatica or you’d like to see us for diagnosis and treatment of this common lower back issue, please contact one of our offices in Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, or Margate, Florida, to schedule an appointment.

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