Sciatica is one of the most common medical conditions, but "common" doesn't mean "easy to deal with." With proper treatment, you can lessen your pain and achieve a higher quality of life. Here is some helpful information courtesy of Illinois Back Institute.
"Sciatica" is the medical term for a collection of symptoms, not a specific disease or condition. The main symptom of sciatica is sharp or shooting pain that radiates down the leg from the hip along the sciatic nerve (which runs through the hip and down the leg). Some people describe the pain as "burning" or "electrical" in nature. Other symptoms include tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness. Usually, sciatica affects only one leg, but it is also possible to experience sciatica in both legs. Possible causes include lower back trauma, age-related thinning of the spinal discs in the lower back, and muscle spasms that impinge on the sciatic nerve.
What Causes Sciatica in Both Legs?
Sciatica in both legs is far less common than sciatica of one leg. Though only a doctor can correctly determine the cause of this (or any) type of sciatica, the most common cause is spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is the medical term for a narrowing of the holes in the spine that nerves (such as the sciatic nerve) pass through. This most often occurs as a result of aging; as a person ages, spinal disks naturally dry out and get thinner. As this occurs, the spinal bones move closer together, narrowing the passages between them. If these smaller holes end up pinching the sciatic nerve (and especially if both sides do so in the same way), the result is sciatica pain and other symptoms in both limbs.
Managing the Pain
Sciatica pain isn't something you just have to live with; there are things you can do about it. Since tense muscles make sciatica worse, gentle yoga and stretching exercises (especially those that focus on the muscles at the back of the thigh) can help reduce pain. Many sciatica patients find relief in massage, while others find that heating pads or ice packs can help reduce symptoms. If your job or home life requires long periods of sitting, it can also help to get up and move around every twenty minutes or so. This can help relieve pressure and reduce symptoms (especially those that tend to occur at the end of the day). Over the counter medications, especially NSAIDS such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can also help manage pain.
If home remedies don't provide significant relief, a variety of treatments are available. Though some doctors jump immediatly to surgery, in many cases, this kind of invasive treatment isn't necessary. Very often, people suffering from sciatica in both legs can benefit from our unique "Functional Disc Rehydration" therapy, which helps restore disks to their full, healthy state. By gradually expanding disk size, this treatment increases nerve pathway diameter and gradually takes pressure off your sciatic nerve. To find out if this or any of our treatments is right for you, contact us today to schedule your free consultation.