Sciatica can be an excruciating condition. So if you are living with this health problem, you are no doubt wondering, how long does it take for sciatica to go away? The short answer is – however long it takes for whatever is irritating the nerve to stop doing so. Of course, you may not even know what is affecting the nerve or how sciatica occurs in the first place. Does that mean you’re doomed to be in pain forever?
Fortunately, there is a way to find relief from sciatica pain, and it doesn’t have to take that long. We’re going to look at the symptoms of sciatica and what causes it. Then we will address a natural way to find the relief that you have been searching for.
The Symptoms of Sciatica
Sciatica symptoms can vary from patient to patient. The severity of the condition can also differ for each person. We will get into the reason when we discuss the causes of sciatica. For now, the important thing is to know the symptoms that may identify this condition. The most common include:
- Lower back pain
- Hip pain
- Pain that radiates through one buttock and down the leg
- Numbness or tingling
- A burning sensation
- Weakness in the leg or foot on the affected side
- Difficulty walking
- Impaired bowel or bladder function (in severe cases)
These symptoms may persist (chronic sciatica), or they may go away on their own after a few weeks (acute sciatica). Either way, unless the underlying cause gets addressed, your symptoms are likely to continue or return at a later date. So let’s take a closer look at how sciatica happens in the first place.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, compressed, or otherwise irritated. It happens often with this nerve because it is the largest nerve in the body and begins in the lower spine before branching off down both legs. It is no wonder that the pain can manifest in so many different ways. It all depends on the part of the nerve being affected and the severity of the compression or irritation.
So how does the nerve get pinched? There can be many things at the root of the problem. For example, one of the soft spongy discs between the vertebrae can bulge or rupture and cause compression. It could also relate to misalignments of the spine. Trauma due to an accident or injury can affect the area. So it is often difficult to pinpoint one particular problem that led to the sciatica pain.
Without an understanding of the underlying problem, doctors end up helping patients manage pain, while they hope it “goes away on its own.” What are some of the standard pain management techniques?
Common Sciatica Pain Management Techniques
Some of the things you can do for your sciatica include resting, icing the pain for inflammation, or apply heat to encourage healing. There are also stretches that may be effective at relieving minor cases of sciatica pain. Be careful not to rest too much when sciatica flares-up. Laying or sitting on the part of the body where the compressed nerve exists could actually irritate it more. Also, be sure to follow a physician’s instructions for applying heat or ice.
Another pain management method involves over the counter pain relievers, particularly NSAIDs when there is inflammation. Just remember that taking these over the counter pain relievers can have side effects if they are taken for too long or too often. It’s not a long-term solution – just a way to get through a day where you can’t rest.
At some point, doctors may begin to recommend heavier drugs for pain relief if your symptoms persist. Just remember that while the pain may end up reduced, you still haven’t addressed the underlying problem. No pain pill can stop the pain from coming back. From there, you may end up with physical therapy, steroid injections, or even the recommendation of surgery to try and move whatever is pressing on the nerve.
If that progression doesn’t sound good to you, then you need to find a natural way to correct the problem. We would like to suggest one such possibility to you – upper cervical chiropractic. What is it, and how may it help?
Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Sciatica
Upper cervical chiropractic involves precise and gentle adjustment of the top two bones in your neck. That may not seem helpful when all of your pain is in your lower back and further down, but there is a reason that this helps.
The top two bones in the neck balance and provide most of the range of motion for the head. That is an important responsibility, so if there is even the tiniest misalignment, the body springs into action. Changes gradually take place along the spine to balance the head. You may notice that one shoulder is higher than the other when you stand in a relaxed position. You may even find a slight difference in leg length. This all points to an upper cervical misalignment.
Unfortunately, sometimes the changes that take place along the spine and the surrounding soft tissue result in an irritated sciatic nerve. So while you may get occasional relief in other ways, the best long-term solution is to correct the underlying problem in the neck.
Upper cervical chiropractic often provides some benefit right from the first adjustment, and many patients say that they feel significant benefits after just six weeks of care. The benefits only grow from there as the spine and surrounding soft tissue stabilize. So contact a practitioner in your area today to get started. Hopefully, the answer to your question – “How long does it take for sciatica to go away?” – will be, not long at all!