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What is sciatica?

What is sciatica?Sciatica, the longest and thickest nerve in the body, or the nervus ischiadicus, as it is called in medical terminology, exits the last vertebrae of the waist and ends just below the knee.

In other words, the sciatic nerve, which occurs by merging the L4, L5, S1, S2 and S3 nerve roots located in the lower back, passes through the perforated area inside the pelvis, which is located in the hip and defined as the coxa, and extends to the posterior region of the leg. It divides into branches in the knee joint and reaches up to the foot, forming motor and sensory functions in this region. Sciatica is actually the name given to the pain that occurs due to compression of the nerve. It is often wondered "What does sciatica mean?" the answer to your question can be given in this way. Compression or stretching of the roots of the sciatic nerve located in the lumbar region leads to a feeling of pain in the leg. In some cases, causes such as vertebral displacement, inflammation, the presence of tumors and cysts can also lead to sciatic nerve pain. Sciatica pain, which begins with lower back pain radiating towards the hip, spreads along the nerve from the groin to the back of the leg and from there to the foot. In severe cases of sciatica, the leg becomes weak, knee and wrist reflexes decrease. The higher the person raises his leg, the more severe the pain becomes.

What are the symptoms of sciatica?
Characterized by pain that extends from the waist to the foot, sciatica pain causes a person to feel that they are being pulled from the hip to the heel. The pain, which is exacerbated by movement, leads to a loss of sensation and strength along the region where the sciatic nerve passes in the leg and foot area. The severity of the pain can limit a person's movements at some times. The upper part of the body becomes difficult to bend or rotational movement may be limited. Often a person cannot stand upright and leans to one side. Foot dragging problem may be seen on the side where pain is felt during walking. In addition to pain, numbness and tingling on the underside of the feet and toes, a sensation similar to a needle prick can also be felt. In severe cases, loss of movement may occur. In addition, complaints that require urgent intervention, such as urinary incontinence due to the inability to control the bladder and intestines, are also among the symptoms of sciatica. Decapitation of the bladder and intestines. If the disease is not treated, thinning and shortening of the muscles of the painful leg may occur.

What causes sciatica?
Although sciatica pain is mostly caused by a herniated disc, it can occur for many different reasons. Sciatica pains, which are examined in three different groups, can be observed due to compression in the lumbar region, compression of the sciatic nerve in the hip muscles, injuries caused by trauma in the posterior part of the knee joint or in the foot. The factors that cause sciatica pain are listed below:
* Immobility: Staying still and sitting for a long time can lead to sciatic nerve pain. Sciatica is more common in occupational groups that require sitting and driving for a long time.
* Heavy Lifting: Sciatic nerve complaints are more common, especially in people who work in some occupational groups and need to constantly lift heavy loads.
* Obesity: Being overweight or obese causes body weight to create stress on the spine. Therefore, this condition can trigger the formation of sciatica.
* Diabetes: Diabetes, can cause damage to the nervous system. Decongestant diabetes is the most common type of diabetes.
* Advanced Age: Sciatic nerve pain may occur due to the weakening of muscles, bones and tissues around the bones due to aging.
* Trauma: After accidents and injuries, sciatic nerve pain may occur due to damage to the sciatic nerve and surrounding tissue.
* Pregnancy: The sciatic nerve may be suppressed due to increased weight and enlarged uterus during pregnancy. In addition, the growth of the abdomen and breasts during this period can also lead to a change in the center of gravity and, consequently, to pressure on the sciatic nerve.

How to protect yourself from sciatica disease?
It may be recommended to keep the back and lumbar muscles strong to prevent sciatica, which greatly reduces the quality of life of the person. A good posture is effective in preventing the formation of sciatica. In addition, avoiding incorrect sitting, supporting the back, waist and arms while sitting are among the measures to be taken to protect against sciatica Dec. Avoiding standing for a long time, staying still and lifting heavy can also prevent the occurrence of sciatica.

Mild to severe sciatica pain that occurs during the initial period may disappear by itself over time. However, if the severity of the pain increases or the existing pain lasts longer than a week, the physician should be consulted. In addition, in case of sudden, severe pain in the back, hip, leg or foot area, numbness in the legs, weakness, difficulty in bowel and bladder control, a doctor should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment. The complaint of sciatica pain that begins after traumas such as a fall from a height or a traffic accident should also be examined by a physician.

How is sciatica diagnosed?
When a person goes to a doctor because of sciatica pain, the doctor first takes the patient's anamnesis. That is why the pain description and history are very important. Often, the presence of numbness, pain, or tingling sensations from the hip to the heel is important in the diagnosis of sciatica. The physician checks whether there is weakness in the muscles and the current state of the reflexes through a physical examination. He asks the person to raise his leg in the air while lying in a straight position. It measures the severity of the pain by making some movements such as stretching. In the same way, it investigates the severity of complaints such as drowsiness and loss of sensation. When the doctor deems it necessary, he checks for abnormalities in the sciatic nerve with nerve stimulation tests. In some cases, the physician may want to view which area of the sciatic nerve is suppressed by radiological imaging methods such as CT and MRI. With the understanding of what causes sciatica pain, a diagnosis is made and sciatica treatment is started.

How is sciatica treated?
Different types of treatment are applied depending on the patient's complaints, general condition, severity of sciatica and why the sciatic nerve is suppressed. In some cases, analgesic drugs such as painkillers and muscle relaxants are used, while in others, methods such as epidural steroid injections can be used. In addition to physical therapy methods such as spinal manipulation and traction therapy applied by the physical therapy and rehabilitation department, surgical intervention may also be necessary for the treatment of sciatica. Sciatica pain can be treated by reducing pressure on the nerve with lumbar laminectomy, removing hernia formation, or partial or complete removal of the disc, known as discectomy.
If you also think that you have complaints related to the sciatic nerve, do not forget to contact the nearest health facility and have your checks done. We wish you healthy days.

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