The 6 Most Common Sciatica Myths
Sciatica is a condition that can cause pain in the lower back and leg. The Sciatic nerve is the longest in the body and runs from the lower back down the leg to the ankle. Sciatica, the condition itself, occurs when there is pressure on or damage to this extremely sensitive and far-reaching nerve. For many, this can make walking, sitting at a desk, or even sleeping comfortably tricky. Although sciatica is usually treatable with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medication, physical therapy or surgery may be necessary in some cases. Sciatica, like many conditions, has myths about where they come from and how to treat them.
Myth 1: Sciatica is an untreatable condition
If you’ve experienced sciatica for a long time, It can feel like the condition will never go away. It might feel like the best course of action is to learn to live with the pain. Thankfully this isn’t the only solution. Nearly all cases of sciatica are treatable, and 90-95% of those cases can be treated without surgery.
Myth 2: Sciatica can only be treated with surgery.
Sciatica, despite being caused by damage to the spine, very rarely requires surgery. The best remedy for sciatica pain is physician-directed self-care, including direct heat and cold press applications, physical therapy, and over-the-counter pain medication.
Myth 3: Sciatica is caused by a slipped disc.
Although sciatica can be caused by a colloquial “slipped disk” or spinal herniation, it can be caused by various other issues, including spinal stenosis and spurring.
Sciatica requires surgery to be treated.
Myth 4: Sciatica only affects older people.
Sciatica most commonly affects people between the ages of 30 and 50 but may affect individuals of all ages, primarily including younger individuals that are physically active. Exercises that pressure your lower back can often be the culprit for young people experiencing sciatica. It can also be caused by natural and prolonged wear and tear for older individuals.
Myth 5: Sciatica can’t affect healthy people.
As mentioned, sciatica may be more likely to affect healthy individuals. Those who regularly exercise and place stress or pressure on their lower back are at a higher risk of damaging a disc in their spine.
Myth 6: Time is the best treatment for sciatica.
If you think you may be experiencing sciatica pain, it is best to visit a physician as soon as possible. Although symptoms can dissipate on their own, you may experience pain longer than necessary, or, in some cases, your symptoms may worsen.
If it’s not getting better, try speaking to a specialist.
Home remedies for chronic sciatica that don’t seem to get better are a great way to manage symptoms but can’t fix the underlying problem causing them. Seeing an orthopedic specialist can help you find the cause of your sciatica and help you heal faster without causing additional complications. Not all forms of sciatica require surgery. In fact, most don’t. Conservative care-driven orthopedic specialists (like the providers at Sport Ortho Urgent Care) can design the best possible care plans to help heal your sciatica pain for good.