Doctor Rottbech a neurologist working at the university hospital of Butare (CHUB) says that the severe back pain problem is always caused by the sciatic nerve problem. Such pains are due to sciatic nerve infection and normally termed as sciatica.
Sciatica is defined as a severe pain in the leg along the course of the sciatic nerve. The pain is felt in the back of the leg running from the buttock down the back of the thigh into the calf and foot.
The term sciatica is commonly used to describe pain travelling in the distribution of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is a symptom caused by a disorder occurring in the lumbar spine. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body, about the diameter of a finger.
She says that the pain may begin abruptly or gradually and is characterized by a sharp, shooting, or electric shock-like quality. Movement of the extremity often intensifies the pain.
The pain may be uniformly distributed along the limb, but frequently there are certain spots where it is more intense. The pain is often associated with numbness and tingling in the distribution of the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica may result from any process which causes pressure or irritation of the nerve roots which compromise the sciatic nerve.
This pressure may result from a variety of processes such as a ruptured intervertebral disc, narrowing of the boney spinal canal called spinal stenosis, or rarely from an infection and tumor.
Usually sciatica affects one side of the body. The pain may be dull, sharp, burning, and accompanied by intermittent shocks of shooting pain beginning in the buttock travelling downward into the back or side of the thigh and leg.
Sciatica then extends below the knee and may be felt in the feet. Other common symptoms include: tingling and numbness, sitting and trying to stand up may be painful and difficult. Also Coughing and sneezing can intensify the pain.
The doctor says that those patients with lower back pain have historically been prescribed bed rest in order to offer relief for aching bones and joints.
She explains that research in recent years has suggested that bed rest alone will not offer relief for those suffering from nerve pain such as sciatica.
The doctor points out that staying active may be more beneficial for those who suffer from back pain. Not to say that you should be running marathon, activity means being up and mobile for periods of time that are not enough to cause further pain and aggravation to your back.
Some doctors may prescribe specific exercises or some may simply suggest walking. However the doctor explains that people with the sciatic nerve problem can be helped in two ways of: pain relief and surgery to correct the affected part of the vertebral disc.
Pain is best treated with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or codeine in acute infection of the sciatic nerve.
In some cases a cortisone like drug may be injected into the epidural space surrounding the spinal column. This procedure is similar to the epidural used during childbirth.
A course of this type of treatment may offer temporary relief, but does not address the root of the problem. Some patients with sciatic nerve problem may find significant relief from surgery.
In cases of herniated discs, a surgical procedure called a laminectomy may be performed. In this procedure, a portion of the posterior arch is removed to relieve pressure on affected nerve tissues.
In cases of spinal stenosis, the portion of bone that is putting pressure on the sciatic nerve system can be removed. Surgery is not for everyone.
However, for those who have shown no sign of improvement in four to six weeks and who have had CT (computed topography) scans and MRI that show a herniated disc or spinal stenosis, surgery may offer significant relief.