Etiology: Severe pain in the leg along the course of the sciatic nerve felt at the back of the thigh, running down the inside of the leg.
CAUSES: Compression or trauma of the sciatic nerve or its roots, esp., that resulting from ruptured inverbertebral disk or osteoarthritis of lumbosacral vertebrae. Inflammation of sciatic nerve resulting from metabolic, toxic or infectious disorders. Pain referred to the sciatic nerve from other parts of the body.
May begin abruptly or gradually and is characterized by a sharp shooting pain running down the back of the thigh. Movement of the limb generally intensifies the suffering. Pain may be uniformly distributed along the limb but frequently there are certain spots where it is more intense; numbness, tingling; nerve may be extremely sensitive to the touch. Symptoms grow worse at night and on approach of stormy weather. Duration of attack varies from a few days to several months. In long-standing cases, muscles grow atrophied and rigid. Recovery follows in majority of cases when treatment is instituted early and is carried out persistently.
Some people claim that sciatica, in men, may be caused by wallet-itis as they term it. Persistently carrying the wallet in the hip pocket of trousers, sitting on the wallet every day, causes an irritation of the sciatic nerve. To alleviate the sciatic pain and irritation of the sciatic nerve, move the wallet to the other side, or better still, don't use the hip pocket for carrying a wallet at all.
Surgical intervention if due to ruptured disk. In acute stage, rest is essential. Hot dressings may alleviate pain to some extent. Morphine or meperidine may be required to control the pain, but the danger of habituation must be remembered. In arthritic patients, full doses of salicylates are useful. In chronically ill patients, prolongs rest. Improve general health, good, nourishing diet: hot applications often help to provide relief. Some patients are relieved by spraying ethyl chloride over the course of the nerve; nerve stretching by pulling the affected leg, or a lift in the shoe of the affected limb.
St. John's wort
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