Leg Pain And Numbness: The Meaning And Non-Surgical Treatments
As we age, aches and pains become just a matter of life, however when they get to severe, we need to take action to reduce the problem. Leg pain and numbness can be caused by a number of different things. Among those things is arthritis, sciatica, varicose veins and a number of other conditions as well.
Sciatica is a condition that causes pain that radiates from the lower back down through your hips and down one or both legs. Many people have reported that it only affects one leg. The pain travels down the sciatic nerve, hence its name. It is sometimes caused by a herniated disk or when a narrowing of the spine compresses the sciatic nerve. The condition causes pain and some numbness along with inflammation in the affected leg or in both legs. Most cases of Sciatica can be resolved with non-surgical treatments. Surgery is only for severe cases.
There are natural treatments that can be very beneficial in treating Sciatica. These treatments include:
• Chiropractic Treatment – A study from 2010 in the Journal of Manipulation and Physiological Therapeutics, claims that people with sciatica who received spinal manipulation, experienced the same degree of pain relief as those patients who had surgery. (I would choice spinal manipulation). Patients saw a chiropractor for 4 weeks, 3 times a week, then once a week, until their pain was dramatically reduced. For those who were helped, it lasted about one year. The procedure creates a response in the nervous system that relieves pain and reduces inflammation.
• Acupuncture – A study in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, found that out of 30 sciatica patience followed, 17 reported complete relief from pain. Another 10 saw their symptoms improve.
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• Yoga – A study in the journal of Pain showed that chronic back pain suffers, who practiced Ivengar Yoga for 16 weeks experienced a 64 percent reduction in pain. The reported a 77 percent reduction in disability. Yoga’s effects are less clear, but most reported some benefit. It is thought that yoga may strengthen muscles and improve flexibility. This can help the suffer move and function better.
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• Massage – Trigger point massage is best for sciatica. The sciatic nerve, under the piriformis muscle, under the glutes. When it gets too tight it pinches the sciatic nerve, causing pain or numbness down through the leg. Message can sometimes relieve the pain.
• Bath in Epsom Salt – Epsom salts can help relax the nerves and draw out toxins. Add about 2 cups to a hot bath. Soak for 20 minutes. The heat will help reduce inflammation.
• Rest – Getting a day or two of complete rest can be very helpful also. Too much rest though, will make sciatica worse.
• Cold Packs or Hot Packs – Use cold packs on the painful area for 20 minutes, a couple of times a day. After a couple of days, use hot packs or a heating pad on the area.
When Nothing is Working
When the pain does not subside with any of the treatments mentioned, or the pain suddenly increases. You should see a doctor. If you start to have trouble controlling, your bladder or your bowels. It is important to make sure nothing more serious is going on. See your doctor if the following things are present:
• Redness or swelling and warmth in the painful area.
• If you have had recent leg surgery. Blood clots can form, so rule it out.
• When there are red streaks starting in the painful area.
• When you suspect an infection.
• When you have a fever.
Who Typically Gets Sciatica
• Older people with herniated disks can end up with sciatica. Age causes the spine to weaken a bit.
• Weight gain can stress your spine, contributing to spine changes that result in sciatica. Many obese people suffer from the condition.
• People in occupations that require lifting heavy loads, or driving for long periods of time sometimes experience a case of sciatica.
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• People who have prolonged periods of sitting can suffer with the condition as well.
• People who suffer from Diabetes can have an increased the risk of nerve damage.
How to Prevent Sciatica or Other forms of Leg Pain and Numbness
Although, it is not always possible to prevent sciatica, there are things that can reduce your chances of suffering from the condition or other forms of back and leg problems.
• Exercise on a regular basis. It will keep you stronger and keep more muscles more flexible.
• When sitting, maintain proper posture. Do not slump in your chair. Place a pillow or towel in the fold of your back to help keep it straight.
• When you have to stand for long periods of time, rest one foot on a step stool or box periodically. When you have to lift something heavy, do it with your legs. Lift straight up and down.
• Eat a nutritious diet. Make sure that you consume enough calcium, and vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body absorb the Calcium, so it is important to take them together.
• Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. For a woman, one drink a day is enough. For a man, two drinks are fine.
• Stop smoking if you currently do. Avoid all tobacco products. Smoking increases your chances of developing osteoporosis.
When you suspect sciatica or have chronic leg pain and numbness, listen to your body. Do not ignore the symptoms. Take corrective action as soon as you become aware of the problem. Using natural methods is the best way to start. Improving your diet and lifestyle is first and foremost. Then using some of the treatments recommended should help get you through the pain and help correct the problem over a fairly short period of time.