How Long Will My Sciatica Pain Last?
Sciatica is often described as shooting, burning, tingling, numbness, or weakness in the buttocks, legs, feet, or toes. The symptoms usually start slowly and worsen over time. Some patients experience sharp pains, while others report only mild discomfort.
Sciatica pain is caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down each leg. This condition affects millions of Americans every year. If you’re suffering from sciatica pain, you want the pain to stop. Here are some things to know about how long sciatica pain lasts.
What Causes Sciatica?
The sciatic nerve runs down the buttocks and legs from the spinal cord. This nerve helps us move our hips, knees, ankles, feet, toes, fingers, hands, arms, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and even teeth. Sciatica occurs when one or several of the nerves along the path are pinched or irritated.
The most common cause of sciatica includes:
- Herniated discs: Disc material protrudes from its normal position and presses against surrounding structures.
- Spinal stenosis: Narrowing of the space around the spinal column.
- Bone spur: A bony projection that forms on the vertebrae, often due to arthritis.
- Strain, overuse, or trauma: Overuse of muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, or bones.
Other less common causes include tumors, infections, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy, and congenital disabilities.
Who Is At Risk For Sciatica?
Risk factors for sciatica pain typically include obesity, diabetes, pregnancy, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, alcohol use, poor posture, previous injury or surgery, arthritis, herniated discs, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia.
The cause of your sciatica will determine how long you can expect your sciatica pain to last. For example, sciatica pain during pregnancy may go away with proper care after labor and delivery. Sciatic pain caused by a chronic health condition such as fibromyalgia may require managing pain in conjunction with regular treatment.
How Long Does Sciatica Pain Last?
For most people, acute sciatica lasts about one to two weeks. Acute sciatica is the sudden onset of low back pain radiating down the leg into the foot. This type of pain typically occurs due to muscle strain or inflammation of the nerve roots that extend from the spinal cord. Most people recover quickly without treatment. However, in rare instances, acute sciatica can become chronic. Chronic sciatica is defined as pain lasting longer than two months.
Can the Pain Go Away on Its Own?
Sciatica is one of the most common causes of lower back pain. Most people experience sciatica pain once in a while, especially during increased activity. Sciatica pain may go away independently, though treatment is necessary in many cases. Here are some things you can do to try to reduce your sciatica pain while you wait on your doctor’s appointment:
Keep Your Back Straight
If you sit hunched over all day long, you’re putting unnecessary pressure on your spine and causing muscle strain. When you slouch, your pelvis tilts forward, compressing the discs in your spinal column. This puts extra stress on your back muscles and ligaments, which leads to inflammation and soreness. To avoid this problem, keep your back straight while seated. If you find yourself leaning forward, take a few deep breaths and stand up straight again.
Stretching exercises aren’t just crucial for athletes. Regularly stretching your hamstrings, glutes, calves, quadriceps, and upper body — including your neck — can reduce tension and improve circulation, helping relieve sciatica pain. Try doing simple stretches such as bending over a chair and reaching down toward the floor, standing on one leg and holding onto something sturdy like a wall, and rolling your shoulders backward.
Get Up and Move Around
When you’re sitting still, your blood flow slows down, making it harder to heal injuries. So, whenever possible, try walking around every hour or so. This will increase blood flow and oxygen levels throughout your body, improving healing and relieving pain. Also, don’t forget to stretch out your legs occasionally. Sit on the edge of a chair and lean forward, placing your hands on the seat behind you. Then slowly push your hips forward, allowing your legs to bend slightly. Repeat several times.
Eliminate Sciatica Pain Quickly With Sciatica Diagnosis and Treatment
If painful sciatica symptoms make your everyday life miserable, there’s no reason to suffer. There are many ways to relieve sciatica pain quickly, including chiropractic care, massage therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, and surgery. If you suffer from sciatica nerve pain, you can consult with Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery team. We can help you reduce or eliminate your sciatic back pain. You can schedule an appointment through our contact form or call our office at (855) 853-6542.