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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is nerve pain felt due to irritation or damage to your sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve controls function and sensation in your legs and feet.
What causes sciatica?
Your sciatic nerve can become irritated through injury, arthritis, infection, a tumor, poor posture or pressure caused by a prolapsed disc.
Who gets sciatica?
Sciatica more commonly affects middle-aged people (30 to 50 years of age), as the spine tends to start to degenerate when you reach the age of 30. Workmen who lift heavy weights without bending their knees are also at risk. People who sit all day are also more prone to …
How is sciatica diagnosed?
Your doctor will take a full medical history, then physically examine your back. Imaging tests such as X-rays are usually not required unless your symptoms continue for more than three months.
How is sciatica treated?
To treat sciatica, rest is advised for the first few days, then gentle exercise is encouraged to keep your muscles flexible and increase blood flow. Pain-relief medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, are often prescribed for a few weeks until your pain …
Will sciatica clear on its own?
The majority of sciatica cases will resolve within three months with self-care and stretching. This does depend on what is causing your sciatica, though. Structural problems, arthritis and prolapsed disc may respond well to a specifically-designed exercise …
Can sciatica be prevented?
You cannot completely prevent sciatica, but you can learn how to avoid damaging your back. Learn how to lift properly - do not twist when lifting, keep your knees in line with your shoulders. Push objects instead of pulling them. Try not to sit all day - this …
What is the outlook for sciatica?
The outlook for most cases of sciatica is good. Self-care, exercise and pain relief tend to be sufficient in managing symptoms. Avoiding injury, along with staying fit and healthy, are often enough to manage symptoms.
About this article
Author: Karen McCloskey BHSc
First answered: 23 Nov 2014
Last reviewed: 17 Oct 2018
Rating: 5.0 out of 5
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