Why sciatica gets on your biggest nerve
The American Academy of Pain reports that 26 million Americans live with chronic back pain, with many suffering from a condition known as sciatica. Twenty-eight percent of those dealing with low back pain find it difficult to move freely. Sciatica is one of the most common symptoms of low back pain and makes it extremely difficult for some to participate in basic tasks such as sitting, standing or even walking.
Why is your sciatica such a pain?
Sciatica is officially described as a pain that affects the lower back, hips and legs and is caused by the sciatic nerve being pinched. The sciatic nerve begins at the base of the spine and extends down each leg.
As the longest nerve in your body, the sciatic nerve plays host to more than 45 miles of nerves within the body when stretched out. That explains why a pinched nerve in your spine can be felt in your toes – because the pain can travel the length of the nerve.
Although anyone can experience symptoms of sciatica, it’s most commonly found in those between 35 and 55 years of age. Sciatica can be brought on by many things, including:
- Poor posture
- Other spinal conditions such as herniated or bulging disc, spinal stenosis or bone spurs.
Most of the time sciatica can be treated through conservative methods like low-impact exercises, a couple days of rest or the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Many people with sciatica find that the symptoms will resolve with time. Only 10 to 20 percent of those with sciatica will need surgery to correct the problem.
The odds are good that you know someone or you are suffering from some type of chronic pain — back related or otherwise. Keep in mind that pain affects each individual differently and work to make things easier for those living with chronic pain.