Having a paining back is the worst nightmare you may live by. Acute back pain should be treated as soon as possible before it grows severe. The most important thing to cure back pain is to detect the cause. And Sciatica or Spinal Stenosis could be the reason behind it.
In this post, we’ll have a look at the basics, the similarities shared by Sciatica or Spinal Stenosis as well as treatment options for both.
Two Possible Causes of Back Pain
Experts estimate that up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives. [Source: Rubin Dl. Epidemiology and Risk Factors for Spine Pain]
Somewhere somehow there is a link between nerve pain, back pain, and leg pain. Whenever back pain is assessed, you’ll likely hear the terms ‘Spinal Stenosis’ or ‘Sciatica’. What it is & why you should be concerned about learning them if you have back issues?
What is Spinal Stenosis?
The pinching of nerve roots because of space loss in the spinal canal is known as spinal Stenosis. Any spot of the spine may undergo this issue but it mostly affects the lumbar region (lower back). Spinal Stenosis happens because of wear and tear or Osteoarthritis. As a result, the spine discs bulge or becomes bone spurs. It becomes a blockage that restricts the nerves passing through the spine.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is the pain that radiates through the path of the Sciatica nerve and branches via the lower back, through hips, and buttocks, and reaches the legs. This pain impacts only one side of the body. The main source of Sciatica is herniated disk or bone spur on the spine compressing the part of the nerve (Spinal Stenosis). You now know that Sciatica and Spinal Stenosis are linked.
The pain emerging from Sciatica may be acute in most cases and can be effectively treated with oral medications like Gabapin 300. However, if a patient has severe Sciatica associated with critical weakness in the legs, bladder, or bowels then they might be recommended surgery.
Symptoms of Sciatica
- Consider your medical condition as Sciatica if you see any of the following signs:
- The pain originates from the lower back (lumbar region) and extends to the buttocks and the back portion of the leg. It is the hallmark symptom of Sciatica.
- The patient feels discomfort all the time anywhere where the nerve branches. Specifically, the pain creates discomfort from the lower back via the buttocks and then reaches thighs and calves.
- Sciatica pain could be mild or sharp but happens along with inflammation. It may also feel like a sudden electric shock or jolt. This pain may get worse while coughing or sneezing. Also, activities like prolonged sitting hours may worsen symptoms.
- The patient may feel numbness, muscular weakness, or tingling sensations in the affected leg.
What’s similar between Sciatica and Spinal Stenosis?
As seen above, Sciatica and Spinal Stenosis both cause pain, inflammation (burning sensation), and irritations. Spinal Stenosis is mostly observed among elderly people because of age-related wear and tear. On the contrary, some people born with smaller spinal canals may start witnessing symptoms of Stenosis earlier.
Both spinal problems give birth to pain in the lumbar region, butts, and legs. It is only because Spinal Stenosis is the reason behind sciatic pain.
How to treat Sciatica & Spinal Stenosis together?
The main aim to relieve Sciatica or Spinal Stenosis is to create relaxing effects on the spine. To accomplish this, oral medications like Gabapin 300 mg could be prescribed as a common treatment for both. Some conventional treatments may be suggested first. This includes hot and cold packs for relief in your lumbar area.
In case if conventional treatments are not working out then it’s time to consult a specialist. Spinal injections with steroids may be required. Their effects last for around 6 months. Acupuncture and Chiropractic care are more treatment alternatives.
Most of the time, doctors prefer non-operational treatments and if the pain persists then surgery is preferred.
Surgery for Spinal Stenosis
If pain because of Spinal Stenosis or Sciatica is affecting the quality of life despite using oral treatments then surgery is a better option. The doctor prefers surgery procedures based on the cause of pain.
For instance, if the herniated disk is the reason for spinal pain then the surgeon performs a microdiscectomy.
If surgery is not for you then your doctor may prescribe you Gabapin, or similar oral medications. Additionally, some lifestyle changes may be suggested along with oral medicines to enhance their effectiveness. You may be recommended several techniques for reducing muscle spasms, maintaining posture, avoiding heavyweight lifting, and more that comforts your spine. You may ask for tips from your therapist to reduce your spine overload.
Wrapping it up
Whether it is Spinal Sciatica or Stenosis, it will affect your quality of life. Don’t wait & consult your doctor as soon as possible to figure out the exact cause of back pain. If your doctor confirms either of the spinal issues then your treatment can begin.