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What You Need to Know About Sciatica and How You Can Help

As people become older, they become more vulnerable to certain conditions and illnesses. Sciatica is a common ailment older adults and seniors experience later on in life. This condition can cause a lot of affliction and discomfort, causing the elderly to rely on their family and caregivers a little more.

If it’s the first time you’ve heard this term, here’s a quick rundown about how you can spot it and what to do.

Signs of Sciatica

Sciatica is described to resemble a tingling pain. Some people can experience the pain to be a little more intermittent, while others feel chronic pain. A select few note a specific weakness or numbness instead of pain

The pain is often felt on the lower half of the body. Most people occasionally cite the lower back and buttocks at pain points. The legs and feet are also prone to aching, restricting one’s movement during everyday activities.

Sciatic makes it hard to sit, walk or stand without any help. Those diagnosed with sciatica would often require assistance to get around the house or to the bathroom. If someone complains about difficulty and pain when moving, suggest going to a doctor to learn what’s wrong and rule out any other causes to obtain rapid treatment.

What Causes Sciatica

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve, which spans from a person’s lower back to their feet, is compressed or inflamed. This irritation may originate from any recent injuries or accidents that’s happened in the past. Obesity and a lack of exercise can aggravate sciatica as the bones and joints aren’t in top condition.

Sciatica can also be a symptom that originates from several different conditions. To name a few: 

  • Herniated discs (Ripped cartilage that can neutralize the sciatic nerve) 
  • Spinal stenosis (Narrowing spinal canal that pressures the sciatic nerve)
  • Bone spur (Tiny bone outgrowth that causes joint damage)
  • Arthritis (Swelling and stiffness of the joints in your body).

How to Treat It

There’s not a ‘one solution fits all’ cure for sciatica. Each person is facing different causes for their condition, so that they will need varying treatments. 

Medically, doctors will prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and monitor the situation. Pain relief is something that has to be constantly dealt with. There are injections to help with the pain for several months. In severe cases, surgery is also an option to treat sciatica.

Physical therapy can help seniors alleviate pain and gain control over their bodies again for a more natural approach. It’s also important to be mindful of the environment a senior with sciatica is in. An overly hot or cold temperature can contribute to any discomfort they may experience.

Conclusion

It can be distressing for family members, close friends, and caregivers to see a loved one experience such pain in old age. One reassuring aspect of sciatica is that it can go away with enough time and energy. What’s important is to be present and assist those trying to get better during those tough times. Being there can help them get motivated and return to an optimal state of health. 

Looking for senior health services in California? Bridge Home Health and Hospice has highly trained clinicians, and therapists prepared to provide the best home-based patient care. Get in touch with us today.

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