Have you heard of sciatica? And why it is called by that name?

Sciatica is nothing new. Some say Hippocrates was the first doctor to name this unique condition that causes pain in the back of the leg (sciatica comes from the Greek word ischios, which means hip).

This disease called sciatica is one of the diseases whose symptoms appear with pain in the lower back and extend to the bottom of each leg, when the body is affected by pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.

The reason for naming is not due to women as one might think, but rather to the pain that results from it, a person forgets everything else except himself. It is also believed that the ancients gave it this name because the patient forgets to take the preventive precautions that must be taken before contracting this disease.

In this article, you will learn about this disease, its causes, prevention methods, treatment methods, and exercises to treat it.

What is Sciatica?

What is Sciatica?

It is a disease that appears in the form of nerve pain and sometimes pain in the sciatic nerve. The patient feels some numbness or tingling in the back or buttocks, and it may extend to the leg or heels, and the symptoms may get worse.

Humans have two sciatic nerves, each extending from the hip and buttocks laterally to the leg until it reaches just below the knee. From there it branches into nerves that pass through the lower part of the leg and foot to the fingers.

One of the characteristics of the sciatic nerve is its length and thickness. As it consists of a bundle of nerves consisting of five nerve roots emanating from the spinal nerve.

Pain after injury varies from mild to severe, centering around the nerves that connect to the sciatic nerve, extending from the lower back to the hips and buttocks or legs to the bottom of the feet.

Sciatica Types

We notice two basic types:

True Sciatica

It is caused by every condition or injury that directly affects the sciatic nerve.

Sciatica-like Conditions

It is every condition that resembles sciatica in its conditions and symptoms but is caused by other causes that may involve the sciatic nerve or the nerves that makeup it.

Doctors call the two types “sciatica,” but they distinguish between them through treatment methods.

This disease is widespread, as 40% of people in America have a symptom. Most patients are over the age of twenty.

Sciatica Symptoms

It’s time to learn about the symptoms of sciatica, which are summarized in:


Electric shock is how patients describe the pain caused by sciatica. Or a burning sensation that radiates along the sciatic nerve due to pressure on the affected nerve(s), The patient describes the pain as an electric shock that comes with coughing, sneezing, bending, or raising the legs up after lying on the back.


“pins and needles” (paresthesia), this is how a sciatica patient describes this symptom.


This is similar to how you feel when you sit for a long time on the same limb, and the sensations begin to become dull and numb, because the signals from your back or leg cannot flow to your mind.

Muscle weakness:

It is an acute symptom and muscle weakness due to its inability to receive control signals in your back or legs.

Urinary incontinence or fecal incontinence:

One of the most serious symptoms, which is explained by the interruption of signals in the bladder and intestines and the point of control.

Sciatica Causes

If the sciatic nerve is exposed to any trauma that may result in sciatica. It may also occur due to pressures on the five spinal nerves that unite to form the sciatic nerve.

Briefly, conditions causing sciatica include:

  • Herniated discs.
  • Degenerative disk disease.
  • Spinal stenosis.
  • Foraminal stenosis.
  • Foraminal stenosis.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Injuries.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Tumors, cysts or other growths.
  • Conus medullas syndrome.
  • Cauda equina syndrome.

Also read: Get to Know Alzheimers Disease

Factors May Cause Sciatica

These factors should be avoided because they may become a cause of sciatica:

  • Injuries such as bumps and falls increase the risk of sciatica.
  • Osteoporosis, wear and tear of the vertebrae due to age, herniated discs, and nerve compression all play a role.
  • Overweight or obesity, which affects the endurance of the muscles and spine and causes stress.
  • The stomach muscles and their strength help the back muscles, so you should do abdominal strengthening exercises for prevention.
  • Construction workers and porters are frequently exposed to lower back problems. However, jobs that require prolonged sitting without back support have the same drawbacks.
  • Good posture when lifting weights is important to avoid sciatica.
  • Type 2 diabetes leads to peripheral neuropathy, which damages your nerves, including those related to sciatica.
  • Laziness and sluggishness contribute to increasing the risk of sciatica.
  • Smoking: Nicotine affects blood circulation, causing symptoms similar to sciatica.
  • Unknown causes: Experts acknowledge some cases of idiopathic sciatica.

Sciatica Diagnosis

Sciatica Diagnosis

You may now be wondering, my dear, how is sciatica diagnosed?

The doctor can diagnose sciatica by performing a number of tests, he will ask you about your medical history and ask you about the complaint. You will be subjected to a physical examination that includes:

Change in the way you walk: Changing the way you walk will be considered by the doctor as part of the diagnosis.

Straight leg raise test: a test that requires you to lie on an examination table with your legs open. The specialist will slowly raise your leg up, and then raise the other leg. He will ask you about the timing of your pain or any other signs. This movement can help him discover sciatica and its causes.

Other flexibility and strength tests: As mentioned earlier, muscle weakness and stiffness are contributing factors to sciatica.

Sciatica Treatment

Sciatica is treated by alleviating symptoms such as pain and stimulating movement. There are self-treatment, conservative treatments, alternative treatments, surgical treatments, and exercise therapy. We will start with self-treatment:


Self-treatment is successful in moderate cases. It does not include moderate and severe cases of pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness. These cases require a specialist for treatment.

Self-treatment methods include:

The use of cold compresses or ice contributes to relieving pain and swelling in the first days of feeling sick after the onset of sciatica pain. Use the ice pack for 20 minutes several times a day.

Try hot compresses after cold compresses for the same period of 20 minutes, and alternate between them with a warm compress or a cold compress, which one relieves your pain more? Follow up with it.

Conservative Treatments

It is correct to call conservative treatments directed self-treatment, as it is done with the help of a health care professional. Therefore we consider it an advanced step for self-treatment. To get acquainted with it, we mention:


These include analgesics, muscle relaxants, and other medications such as tricyclic antidepressants and anti-seizure medications. These may help if you have chronic or nerve pain.

Physical Treatment

It is movements and exercises that relieve the symptoms of sciatica by partially increasing the pressure on the nerve, such as stretching exercises or quiet activities such as walking, swimming, or water aerobics.

Spinal Injections

Corticosteroid injections provide relief for a short time (up to three months).

Alternative Therapies

Alternative treatments often achieve rapid popularity due to their low cost and lack of side complications. This is why these therapies are increasingly popular because they do not depend on chemical drugs. I mention chiropractors to adjust the spine, yoga, acupuncture and massage therapy to relieve muscle spasms.


In severe cases, surgery becomes a possibility, although doctors do not recommend it in the event of nerve damage. They will refer you to surgery if sciatica hinders you from performing your duties and work.

Exercises to Treat Sciatica

Exercise can help with self-treatment. Maintaining moderate activity, flexibility and muscle tone is important for the healing process. Here are a few selected exercises to treat sciatica to get started:

6 movements to relieve sciatica

Treating and preventing mild sciatica are quite similar. What is required is continued movement and activity directed at maintaining general health, when you can perform all your tasks.

“If you have a demanding job and you can perform the work assigned to you, then that means you have enough strength and range of motion in your hips and knees to do your job without injury,” says Jones, a physical therapist. For others, that might mean using strength, balance, flexibility, and aerobic capacity to run with your children or grandchildren, do heavy yard work, or take an active vacation.

“Maintaining an active lifestyle will actually help relieve sciatica if it returns, as can doing some gentle movements that target the affected area,” Jones demands. You can do these six movements mentioned below right in your home.

Some little reminders

  • Repeat the exercise 8 to 10 times (for each exercise or for each side of the body).
  • It helps if you do the exercise at least twice a week, but it’s okay to do it every day, if you feel good.
  • Don’t hold your breath! Focus on breathing deeply, filling your lungs. While you are exercising, if you’re not sure how to breathe deeply, get into the small bridge position and put your hands on your stomach. Concentrate on trying to breathe in such a way that your hands rise and fall.
  • Remember that these exercises (or any movements you do) should not cause you more pain. Jones, a physiotherapist, warns us: If the exercises hurt you, stop right away.

Glute Bridge

Glute Bridge
  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor
  2. Spread between your thighs
  3. Extend your arms at your sides
  4. Spread your palms down
  5. Tighten your core and pull your waist up toward your spine
  6. Press your arms into the floor for support and push through your heels
  7. Lift your hips up while squeezing your glutes
  8. The goal is for your body to form a straight line from head to knees, with a very little arch formation in the lower back
  9. Hold your position for 5 to 30 seconds, then slowly lower yourself. You have completed one rep.

Knee-to-Chest Exercise

Knee-to-Chest Exercise - Sciatica Treatment | 6 Exercises
  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended. Try not to arch your back
  2. Slowly bend the first knee towards your chest and grab it with your hands (behind or above the knee)
  3. Gently pull the knee until you feel a slight stretch in the lower spine and hip
  4. Hold for 5 to 30 seconds and then slowly lower the knee. This is one rep.


  1. Lie on your side and bend your knees
  2. Put your bottom arm under your head to support it
  3. Pull your belly botton toward your spine
  4. Put your feet together, then slowly raise your top knee
  5. Open your legs like the opening of a clamshell
  6. Use your top arm to help stabilize your leg so it doesn’t lean toward your back.
  7. Maintain this position for 5 to 30 seconds, then lower yourself slowly. This represents a one rep.


  1. Start in a standing position on all fours on your hands and feet
  2. Make sure your hands are directly in line with your shoulders and your knees are directly below your hips.
  3. Pull your belly botton toward your spine
  4. Look forward and slightly down (about a foot in front of your hands) to avoid pressure on your neck
  5. Lift your left arm straight out in front of you and extend your right leg straight behind you (you can do this at the same time or alternate between your foot and your leg)
  6. Make sure the leg and arm are in a straight line with your back (You can do this next to a mirror to make it easier to check your form.)
  7. Pause, then lower your hand and leg
  8. Watch your back straight
  9. Readjust your gaze if your neck is bothering you.
  10. Repeat with the other leg and arm, this is like for one rep.

Cobra Stretch

Cobra Stretch Sciatica Treatment | 6 Exercises
  1. Lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders and your elbows folded close to your body.
  2. Inhale as you press into your palms
  3. Slowly extend your arms while raising your head, chest, and shoulders
  4. Keep your elbows slightly bent and your chin up throughout the exercise.
  5. Tighten your stomach muscles (abs and back muscles) and thighs.
  6. Hold for 30 seconds and then slowly lower down. That’s one rep

Child’s Pose Stretch

Child’s Pose Stretch

Baby crawls on all fours, as with the Child’s Pose stretch:

  1. Start on all fours but bring your knees together as you step back
  2. Bring your hips toward your heels
  3. Allow your arms to extend until they are outstretched, or place them next to your body in a comfortable position
  4. Allow your forehead to rest on the floor
  5. Immerse yourself deeper into the stretch, allowing your upper body to completely relax and shift your weight into your butt and thighs. Don’t worry if your butt isn’t touching your heels.
  6. Pause and breathe deeply, imagine that the tension is leaving your body, especially in the back of the buttocks.
  7. Wait for 5 minutes or as long as you want, there is no need to repeat this exercise. But you can if you feel comfortable.

Sciatica Prevention

Some possible causes of sciatica can be prevented, while other causes cannot be prevented. Here are some preventative tips we offer you:

  • Follow healthy standing techniques: After sitting and getting up after lifting things and sleeping soundly.
  • Stay away from tobacco products: Nicotine of all kinds reduces the blood supply to your bones, which affects your spine and its various components.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: When you eat, make sure it contains calcium and vitamin D for bone health.
  • Stay active: Physical activity means everything from stretching to strength training. Strong abs lead to less back pain.
  • Be aware of falls: Proper footwear, clutter-free stairs and hallways, bathroom rails, stair rails and well-lit rooms protect you from falls.
  • Give yourself time off when injured: Rest may benefit you during the first two days of the injury, but it is not permissible to prolong that rest because complete rest causes the injury to worsen and slow recovery. What is required is to create a balance between rest and activity in order to maintain flexibility and strength. Seeking medical advice is the solution.

Improvement of Sciatica after Exercise

This is controlled by a number of factors, including the type of treatment, the severity of the symptoms, their cause, and their hostility. In moderate cases, recovery occurs within a period of 4-6 weeks.

While severe cases that take weeks or months to recover, and which include severe symptoms, early treatment helps speed recovery, don’t delay sciatica treatment for too long.

Sciatica Complications

Most of those infected with this disease reach full recovery, and the disease may leave some complications in some people such as chronic pain and chronic weakness in the muscles. If the nerves are severely damaged, it causes the patient to have a condition called “foot drop” resulting from nerve damage and thus numbness in the foot. , which hinders walking normally in the future.

The danger lies when the patient loses feeling in the legs as a result of chronic nerve damage.

Special Care for Patients

You should seek intensive medical care in the following cases:

  • Feeling of muscle weakness.
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control.
  • Severe pain that hinders us from performing our work and lasts for a few hours.
  • Severe pain, numbness, or other sudden symptoms of sciatica after a fall, car accident, or other possible injury.

There is no doubt that exercise for the treatment of sciatica is useful for prevention and treatment. However, this does not prevent you from pursuing treatment in acute cases with a specialist who supervises the provision of advice and treatment in a way that achieves a full recovery for you. Stay safe.

Frequently Asked Questions about Sciatica

Can sciatica occur down both legs?

Sciatica usually affects only one leg at a time. However, it can occur in both legs in rare cases.

Does sciatica happen suddenly or does it take time to develop?

Sciatica can come on suddenly or gradually, depending on the cause.

Can gaining weight during pregnancy cause sciatica?

Sciatica is common during pregnancy but is not usually associated with weight changes.

Can sciatica cause swelling in my legs and/or ankles?

Sciatica from a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or bone spurs can cause inflammation or swelling in the affected leg.