If you have ever experienced painful sciatica, you know how debilitating it can be. A typical nerve problem that often strikes those who sit for prolonged periods, like desk workers or drivers sciatica, is caused…
Our nervous system is a wondrous marvel of the body and is responsible for various functions. This complicated system is accountable for many processes in the body, from the most basic to the highly complex. And when one area of this complex system is not functioning correctly, it can also have a ripple effect on other sites.
This is undoubtedly the case with sciatica and the bowels. If you live with sciatica, you may also experience problems with your bowels. This guide will look closely at the connection between sciatica and the bowels, what may cause this problem, and how it can be treated.
What Causes Sciatica to Interfere with the Bowels?
There are a few different ways that sciatica can interfere with the bowels. First, the pain of sciatica can be so severe that it makes it challenging to have a bowel movement. The pain can make it hard to sit still long enough to have a proper bowel movement. Additionally, the pain can make it difficult to push when you have a bowel movement, leading to constipation.
Second, sciatica can cause problems with the nerves that control the bowels, pelvic floor, anal sphincter, and bladder muscles. This bundle of nerves is called the sacral nerves. When nerves in this area are compressed or pinched, it can cause problems with bowel movements. In particular, it can cause constipation, diarrhea, and incontinence.
Finally, sciatica can be a sign of another underlying health problem. For instance, it can be a sign of an infection, a herniated disc, or spinal stenosis. If you have one of these underlying health problems, it can cause problems with your bowels.
Are Sciatica-Related Bowel Problems Dangerous?
The purpose of your bowels is to eliminate waste from your body. When waste stays in your body for too long, it can lead to toxins building up in your system. This can make you feel very ill and can even be dangerous.
So, if sciatica is causing issues with constipation, it can lead to many other types of secondary conditions, like hemorrhoidal infections, anal fissures, and even toxic megacolon. These are all severe conditions that may end up requiring medical treatment.
Additionally, if you have diarrhea as a result of sciatica, it can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can be very dangerous, and it can even lead to death.
Bottom line: if you’re experiencing problems with your bowels due to sciatica, it’s essential to see a doctor immediately. Complications can arise quickly and can lead to severe issues down the road if not treated properly.
Treatments & Prevention of Sciatica-Related Bowel Problems
If you’re experiencing bowel problems because of sciatica, you can do a few things to get relief. First, you can try over-the-counter or prescription pain medication to help ease the pain of sciatica. This can make it easier to have a bowel movement.
Second, you can try physical therapy exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles in your back and buttocks. These exercises can help take pressure off the nerve causing sciatica.
Third, you can use heat or ice to help ease the pain of sciatica. Heat can relax the muscles in your back and buttocks, taking pressure off the nerve. Ice can help reduce inflammation, which can also help relieve stress on the nerve.
Treating Sciatica-Related Bowel Problems Surgically
If conservative treatments don’t work, you may need surgery to treat the underlying health problem causing sciatica. For instance, you may need to have a herniated disc removed or spinal stenosis corrected.
A few of the most common surgical treatments your doctor may suggest include:
- Discectomy surgery: This is a procedure that involves removing a herniated disc that’s pressing on a nerve.
- Foraminotomy surgery: This procedure involves enlarging the opening around the nerve to take pressure off the nerve.
- Laminotomy surgery: This is a procedure that involves removing a small portion of the bone to take pressure off of the nerve.
Surgery is only recommended as a last resort. Even the best doctors might need some pieces of the puzzle regarding new advancements in understanding how sciatica works. So, empower yourself as a patient and conduct your research to ensure you know your options before making a decision.
Preventing Sciatica Bowel Flare Ups
You can do a few things to help prevent sciatica-related bowel problems from occurring or getting worse. First, it’s crucial to maintain good posture and alignment. This means sitting up straight and avoiding slouching.
Second, avoid adding stress to your spine by sitting for long periods or lifting heavy objects. Both activities can put abnormal pressure on your spine, leading not only to short-term strain but lasting damage.
Third, you should maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight can put additional pressure on your lower back, buttocks, and legs, aggravating sciatica. A diet rich in fiber can also help prevent constipation, which can worsen sciatica.
Finally, avoiding high-impact activities like running or jumping would be best. These activities can jar your spine and worsen sciatica. If you must do these activities, warm up first and stretch afterward.
Don’t Wait. Speak to an Experienced Sciatica Surgeon at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery in Florida
Addressing sciatica-related bowel problems is essential for your overall health. If you’re experiencing constipation, diarrhea, or other issues with your bowels, don’t wait to seek treatment. Doing so can lead to severe complications.
At Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, we have a team of experienced surgeons who can help you find relief from sciatica-related bowel problems. We offer various conservative and surgical treatment options and work with you to find the best choice for your needs. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, contact us or call us toll-free at (855) 853-6542 today.