Sciatica is a term used to describe the symptoms of leg pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness that travel down the low back via the sciatic nerve in the back of the leg. Sciatica (sometimes known as radiculopathy) is a description of symptoms, not a diagnosis. A herniated disc, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and spondylolisthesis can all cause sciatica.
Problems originating in the blood vessels of the legs, such as infection, blockage, rupture, or bulging can mimic sciatica pain and may lead to disability if not treated immediately.
Causes of Piriformis Syndrome
The most common causes for piriformis syndrome are when the muscle spasms, becomes tight, or increases in volume or mass. Piriformis syndrome typically develops after a direct injury to the buttock area or from excessive physical activity or poor posture.
Acute sciatica pain may be relieved using an ice pack. Alternately, a heat pack can help improve blood flow and supply oxygen to the sore tissues, promoting healing.
Diagnosing the Cause of Sciatica
The diagnosis of sciatica largely depends on the distribution of pain along the leg. Patients are asked to report the pattern of pain distribution in the leg and thigh.
Essential techniques to help relieve sciatica pain, as well as prevent future episodes of pain include using correct posture and staying active in moderation.
Physical therapists may use several aids and techniques to promote blood flow, reduce muscle spasm, and decrease pain while treating sciatica.
Physical therapy and exercise help treat and prevent sciatica by strengthening and mobilizing tissues in the lower back, pelvis, abdomen, buttocks, and thighs.