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Sciatica is a group of symptoms that include pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness that extends along your sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back to your feet.
Lumbar radiculopathy is the medical word for sciatica, which is a disorder in which spinal nerve roots in the lower back become inflamed or compressed, causing pain and/or neurological symptoms in the lower limbs.
You might be surprised to learn that a lumbar herniated disc is one of the most common causes of sciatica. Continue reading to learn more about how a lumbar herniated disc might cause burning pain in your leg or numbness in your foot.
Herniated discs might irritate the roots of your sciatic nerve.
Your lower back (lumbar spine) bears a lot of weight and is continually moving, rendering your spinal discs vulnerable to injury and pain. An damage to your disc may cause the inner soft core (nucleus pulposus) to migrate and push against the fibrous outer layers (annulus fibrosus). The soft material could also leak out by ripping the fibrous rings.
Your discs are usually near to your spinal cord and spinal nerve roots (the portion of a spinal nerve that leaves the spinal cord).
A herniated disc can impact multiple nerve roots, including the sciatic nerve. Each lumbar nerve root is responsible for sending pain to a distinct area of the leg.
When a disc herniates, it can:
leak chemical compounds into one or more of the sciatic nerve roots, causing inflammation.
Direct mechanical compression of the nerve root is caused.
Sciatica pain and neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and/or weakness spread from the damaged nerve root into your leg and foot.
If you have a herniated disc, follow these four suggestions to avoid sciatica.
Bending, lifting, twisting, and prolonged sitting are all common daily movements that can lead to disc herniation. Changing bad habits and establishing new practises will help you avoid a new disc herniation and/or recurring irritation of your sciatic nerve roots caused by a previously herniated disc.
1. Guard your discs after prolonged sitting or bending.
Long durations of sitting or bending can raise the load on your discs by nearly 40%, leaving them more vulnerable to damage. Lifting and/or high-energy jobs should be avoided after extended sitting or bending. moving a bag of dirt after bending and weeding for a long time, for example, or moving heavy bags after sitting for a lengthy drive or flight, are also bad ideas.
Allow your discs to recuperate and realign for a few minutes before attempting rapid or strenuous movements.
2. When bending, keep a safe lumbar arch.
We frequently bend our spines, such as when doing housework, lifting something off the floor, working, or sitting. By decreasing the stress on your discs, maintaining a safe lumbar arch while performing these activities will help avoid or aggravate disc herniation.
Maintain a secure lumbar arch while bending by:
bending your knees to get something up off the floor
While bending forward, pivot at your hips rather than your spine.
Lifting small objects with the golfer’s lifting method
Pushing rather than lifting a hefty object
If you must stand for an extended period of time, such as while cleaning dishes, rest one leg on a footstool.
Sitting with the shoulders rolled back and the spine in its natural alignment
Also, as you bend, stand, walk, or sit, make a conscious effort to prevent stooping, hunching, or slouching.
3. Make use of assistive devices to decrease disc pressure.
You can reduce the strain on your discs by employing assistive equipment such as:
Wheeled luggage (ideally four wheels rather than two)
Baskets vs. grocery or laundry carts
While sleeping, arrange pillows between your legs (for side sleepers) or beneath your knees (for back sleepers).
When you employ these aids on a regular basis, you may be able to protect your sciatic nerve roots from the persistent irritation caused by a lumbar herniated disc.
4. Carry out back extension exercises.
Exercises that allow you to bend your spine backward, such as the McKenzie technique, may be beneficial in reducing herniated disc pain. These exercises serve to centralise your sciatica pain, which may aid in the treatment and repair of your disc herniation.
To ensure proper form and technique and to avoid other issues, it is critical to learn extension exercises from a competent physical therapist.
Exercises that involve frequent forward bending or twisting are normally not indicated and should be avoided if you have sciatica caused by a herniated disc.
If your lumbar herniated disc is causing persistent or severe sciatica symptoms that are not eased by self-care, see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and medical therapy. Severe disc herniation can result in medical crises including cauda equina syndrome, 7 which causes bowel and/or bladder dysfunction, genital numbness, and/or severe limb paralysis. If you encounter one or more of these symptoms, contact your doctor right once.
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