Sciatica

BACKPAIN, is now an international health issue of major significance. It is estimated that upto 80% of the people are affected by this symptom at some point of time in their lives. 40% of those reporting back pain also reported Sciatica which is a radiating pain down to the leg. It is not a specific disease. Rather, it is a symptom that may occur from a variety of different processes.

       Low back pain has many causes. It may be due to a disease or injury at one or more sites within the spine or it might be a feature of a generalized systemic disease, infection or cancer. Pain may also be referred to the back from disease of other organs like kidney, gall bladder, ovaries, uterus, appendix etc.

How would you know it?
       Low back pain usually begins in the lower back, radiating to the buttock region and back of the thigh. Pain due to pinching of nerve roots by slipped disc (Sciatica), on the other hand, usually extends below the knee joint into the leg and foot. The pain from disc herniation usually is intermittent, can be relieved by rest. Other symptoms of disc herniation includes weakness tingling and numbness.

What is Herniated Disc?
       The spinal column is comprised of a column of small bones called vertebra. Discs are shock-absorbing cushions separating the vertebra. Behind the discs is the spinal canal, which contains spinal cord and nerve roots. A herniated disc is a rupture of the outer casing of the disc. (Discs have tough outer coating and a jelly-like inner substance).

Who is at risk?

  • Jobs requiring heavy and repetitive lifting
  • Use of jack hammers and machine tools
  • Operation of motor vehicles
  • Tobacco Smoking
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Persons with hunch back
  • Greater number of pregnancies
  • Obesity

How do you prevent it?

  • Practicing good posture when standing and sitting
  • Use proper lifting techniques
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Wear shoes with low heels
  • Attending back school programs that integrate job requirements
  • Avoid prolonged sitting
  • Quit smoking and gutka
  • Well balanced diet rich in vitamins, antioxidants, calcium, essential fatty acids and proteins.
 

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