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Lower back pain:what if it was sciatica?

Lower back pain:what if it was sciatica? Sharp pain all the way down in the lower back that descends into the buttock and extends down the back of the thigh to calf or big toe… This discomfort is characteristic of compression or irritation of one of the two sciatic nerves. Everything to avoid and relieve sciatica.

The sciatic nerves are the longest in the human body. They escape from each side of the spine at the level of the last lumbar vertebra and innervate both legs. If their root is compressed by osteoarthritis or a herniated disc, the pain may appear suddenly. But it can also be triggered by carrying a heavy load, poor posture, a wrong movement or an accident. Stress and overweight are additional risk factors.

“The pain can be dull, feel like tingling or an electric shock,” explains Caroline Lambert, vice-president of the French Association of Chiropractic (AFC). Sciatica should not be taken lightly so as not to suffer unnecessarily and not to damage the nerve irreversibly.

Sedentariness as an enemy

In case of vertebral fragility, only a healthy lifestyle can keep the specter of sciatica away. The ideal is to practice a gentle sport that maintains flexibility and back muscles because a sedentary lifestyle is your worst enemy.

In the morning, don't jump out of bed like a kid. Better to unlock your intervertebral discs beforehand:lying on your back, bend your knees towards your chest and grab them with your hands. While inhaling, pull them slightly to bring them closer to the belly then release by blowing. Repeat the exercise 10 times before getting up.

The right things to do on a daily basis

During the day, stretch the back of your legs:standing, one leg straight on a chair, lean your chest forward as if to lie on it, but without forcing too much. And if you work in a seated position, stretch every hour, trying to lengthen your lower back as much as possible.

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In the evening, "avoid falling asleep on your stomach, advises Pauline Pelletier, functional rehabilitation engineer at the Thermes de Jonzac. Sleep on your back or on your side with a pillow between your knees so that your pelvis remains straight". Also, opt for a pillow that also keeps your neck straight and in line with your spine.

How to relieve sciatica?

As long as the pain is bearable, do not stay in bed. Try to maintain normal activity, avoiding trampling. If the pain is intense, consider analgesics (paracetamol first). When they prove to be insufficient, consult your doctor.

He may prescribe corticosteroid injections around the root of the nerve in pain and/or radiological examinations to identify the cause of the problem. But do not panic:even in the event of a herniated disc, surgery is far from systematic. It is reserved for stubborn disabling sciatica, as a last resort.

If your sciatica comes from a vertebral imbalance, an osteopath or a chiropractor can provide relief, but do not consult him at the very beginning of the crisis. Wait a day or two for the inflammation to subside. "The vertebral adjustments can be supplemented by cold therapy, which reduces pain", specifies Caroline Lambert.

In herbal medicine, harpagophytum is indicated. This herbal remedy, also known as Devil's Claw, reduces pain and improves mobility. It can be taken in herbal tea or in tablets (3 to 4 per day for 5 days). To reduce inflammation, also consider wintergreen essential oil. Do not use it pure on the skin, but dilute it in a vegetable oil (arnica or sweet almond) before performing gentle massages on the sore areas.

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