Have you noticed your sciatica lingering or flaring up? You may be wondering: why is my sciatica not going away? This blog will examine reasons why sciatica is not going away and offer a few tips on how to help chronic sciatica symptoms.
Sciatica is a condition that affects the sciatic nerve, which lies at the bottom of your spinal cord. There are many possible causes of sciatica, the most common being a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or injuries that cause inflammation to the spine. All these conditions can result in the sciatic nerve being compressed or pinched.
Find more about the causes and symptoms of sciatica – check out our blog physio for sciatica.
Early Signs Of Chronic Sciatica
Mild sciatica can often be overcome in a few days or a week. But you should always be aware of the early signs of more long-term and chronic symptoms. Here are some to watch out for after the first week or two:
Persisting lower back pain. It’s one of the main symptoms of sciatica, but lingering lower back pain can be a sign you may be developing more chronic symptoms. This may present as increased pain when sitting down, standing up, bending over, or whenever you make sudden movements.
Numbness and tingling in the legs. If you notice a dull tingling sensation lingering after your first week of dealing with sciatica, you might want to take things a bit slower. This is a sign that your sciatic nerve is still under pressure and could be resulting in nerve pain and your brain being unable to properly communicate with your limbs.
Weakness in your leg or foot. If you begin to feel like you’re unable to lift your leg or foot normally, or a distinct weakness in your leg, this could be a sign of chronic symptoms.
When Does Sciatica Become ‘Chronic’?
Chronic sciatica is when you experience symptoms for longer than 3 months – or your symptoms return after a few weeks and linger. Chronic sciatica can be more painful and become a hindrance in everyday activities.
Why Is My Sciatica Not Going Away?
Chronic sciatica can easily become a lasting issue due to a number of different issues. Here are the most common reasons why your sciatica isn’t going away:
1. Herniated Disc
As a common cause of sciatica, a herniated disc can sometimes take longer than normal to heal. This can cause long-term sciatic symptoms and lasting nerve pain and discomfort in the lower back.
2. Inflammatory Conditions
Most cases of sciatica are a result of inflammatory conditions affecting the lower spine. If you’re experiencing inflammation from underlying conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, you may be at a higher risk of developing chronic or recurrent sciatica. If you know you’re suffering from an underlying inflammatory condition – it’s a good idea to focus on treating the underlying inflammatory condition to help with sciatica.
3. Injury And Re-Injury
Sciatica can put those suffering from it at higher risk of injury – due to issues with balance, and loss of muscular strength in an affected leg. Sustaining an injury while already dealing with sciatica can result in worsening of symptoms and increase inflammation around the spine and nerves.
4. Spinal Stenosis
As we age our spinal cord becomes narrower and the spaces between discs are gradually reduced. This causes higher pressure on the spinal cord which can cause nerves to be compressed over time. This can both worsen existing sciatica symptoms and cause further inflammation in the spine. While there is no cure for spinal stenosis, observing a healthy lifestyle and exercise routine can help build resilience.
5. Lifestyle Choices
Several risk factors can worsen existing symptoms and cause sciatica to become a chronic condition. Here are some common habits to watch out for:
- Poor diet and obesity
- Sedentary lifestyle
How To Treat Chronic Sciatica
Chronic sciatica is harder to treat compared to short-term sciatica symptoms. That’s because it’s often coupled with more long-term inflammatory conditions that are usually age and lifestyle-related. But that doesn’t mean chronic sciatica is untreatable.
Here are some ways to ease long term symptoms:
1. Exercises For Chronic Sciatic Nerve Pain
Keeping active is one of the most powerful weapons you have against long-term sciatica. By keeping your body active you help improve blood flow throughout your body which helps reduce inflammation and ease the pressure on your nerves.
Aerobic exercise can help reduce weight and obesity-related symptoms which can be compounding chronic sciatica symptoms.
Hip flexor and lower back exercises are a great way of loosening up your body and increasing mobility – for more details on how to get started check out these simple lower back stretches.
Keep active throughout the day with light walking and swimming activities.
2. Practice Good Posture
Poor posture can put unwanted pressure on your lower back and spine – causing symptoms to worsen. By keeping an erect posture at work you can reduce pressure on your lumbar spine and nervous system.
3. Observe Proper Lifting Techniques
Sometimes we can slip into bad lifting habits without realising it. Using poor technique at work or at home can put unnecessary strain on your back and spinal muscles which can further aggravate chronic sciatica.
4. Take Anti-Inflammatory Medications
If your symptoms become aggravated, and you experience severe pain, you may want to consider taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to ease the pain and swelling.
Sciatic Pain Not Going Away? See A Qualified Physiotherapist
While you can ease chronic sciatica symptoms at home, if you notice the pain getting worse, you should consider physical therapy as a solution. The team here at Integrity Physio offers personalised physiotherapy Como Perth locals can depend on to overcome the worst.
Reach out to your fully qualified team at Integrity Physio today and book an appointment today.