Tue. Jul 5th, 2022


Sciatica does not distinguish gender, nor does age. It is estimated that 80% of the population will experience an episode of low back pain at some point in their lives and it is estimated that 1 in 10 cases will be sciatica. Of course, it generally affects more the man who is active in the workplace.

This is stated in an interview with Infosalus by the members of the Spanish Society of the Vertebral Column, and spine surgeons, Dr. Ana María Cerván de la Haba and Dr. José Miguel Rodríguez Solera, specialists from the Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology Service of the Quirónsalud Hospital Marbella.

Sciatica, or radiculopathy, as specified, is pain that often originates in the lower back and radiates to one of the two legs. " The pain appears as a consequence of the compression of a nerve in the part corresponding to the last lumbar vertebral discs which, in addition, causes tingling and burning in the patient, as a consequence of the involvement of this nerve. In addition to the intense pain, another symptom associated is the sensation of weakness and the loss of sensation that the patient can perceive in his leg", add these experts.

Doctors Cerván and Rodríguez Solera point out that the causes of this pain are multiple and can occur accidentally or as a result of aging (lumbar hernia, trauma, degeneration of the intervertebral disc).

Moreover, they point out that sciatica is one of the main causes of work absenteeism in our country because the pain it produces is very disabling: "The most common thing is to treat episodes of sciatica with pharmacological treatment consisting of anti-inflammatories, which will be completed with physiotherapy sessions.


However, Quirónsalud specialists warn of a series of warning signs that can warn the specialist of a more serious injury . "This is the case of persistent intense pain that is not relieved by medication, high-grade weakness in one or both legs, with ascending progression of this symptom, as well as loss of sphincter control, fever, or neck stiffness. It usually resolves in the first 6 weeks without invasive treatment," they add.

However, if after this period the symptoms persist, the patient should see a specialist, who will assess the suitability of carrying out a diagnostic test (magnetic resonance imaging) and thus verify the existence of a herniated disc, or the suitability of subjecting the patient to to a specific surgery that helps you recover your well-being and quality of life.

Asked about why episodes of sciatica can be repeated in some patients , these doctors emphasize that the truth is that this repetition is not frequent if the patient becomes aware of the lifestyle habits that must be acquired to avoid them. "In other words, it is necessary to avoid being overweight, eradicate tobacco consumption, acquire a sports routine that combats a sedentary lifestyle, as well as adopt correct postural education, among other aspects," they highlight.

In this sense, they see it as very important to underline the importance of avoiding absolute rest during the sciatica episode. "Due to the pain, the patient tends to remain still, avoiding movement and, however, maintaining adequate activity is influential in recovery. On the other hand, it is important to note that a good examination by the specialist will always be more useful than any diagnostic image", highlight the experts from Quirónsalud Marbella.

Ultimately, they especially insist that rest is not a contributing factor in sciatica episodes but, contrary to popular belief, it is necessary for the patient to maintain a smooth movement routine and avoid complete rest.

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