Pain in the back radiating to the limbs, backache, immobility – all of these are symptoms of the destructive processes occurring in the region of the spine, vertebrae and discs.
Often discomfort is caused by pinching of nerve roots arising from the deformation or destruction of cartilage. In this case the doctor makes a diagnosis of discogenic radiculopathy, which in common is called sciatica.
What is the essence of the disease and the causes of its development
Discogenic radiculopathy referred to pathology of the nerve roots of the spine. They zaselyalsya that causes the characteristic signs of the disease: pain, inflammation and swelling. The reason for this state of Affairs are degenerative processes in the intervertebral discs. The cartilage gradually loses its original properties, its elasticity and damping ability are reduced, the fibrous ring is worn, and the distance between the vertebrae becomes smaller. There is a denial that deliver severe discomfort.
Causes of the disease are:
- sedentary lifestyle, leading to a weakening of the muscular corset;
- age-related changes in the body (senile arthritis);
- the consequences of injuries and surgeries in the spine;
- hormonal abnormalities, problems in metabolism;
- congenital anomalies;
- scoliosis, violation of posture;
- pregnancy in women;
- inflammation with chronic in nature;
- heavy physical load (static and dynamic).
Under the action of these factors begins the process of protrusion of the intervertebral disc. He gradually reaches a maximum, the fibrous ring is broken and purposee core projects outward. So develop protrusion and intervertebral hernia. Cartilage affects nerve roots: at first it was just annoying their shell, and then begins to push them and pressure them. So there is radiculopathy of discogenic origin.
Another type of problem – vertebral. It is a consequence of discogenic radiculopathy and occurs because of an already existing “walls” around the nerve roots that are beginning to cause a lot of pressure. The disease has a strong pain, and therefore requires urgent treatment.
Signs of radiculopathy depending on the localization
The symptoms can vary depending on what part of the spine it is localized.
There are three main options for the location of fixed roots:
- Radiculitis cervical (area C5-C6, C6-C7)
The first sign of disease – pain in the neck and forced head position. Attempts to change it can cause severe backache. The discomfort is worse when sneezing or coughing, it is usually greater in the morning due to the uncomfortable posture during sleep.
In severe cases the pain spreads to the arms and shoulder area. A person feels a painful burning and tingling in the extremities. Possible loss of sensation and numbness, and severe backache.
Often the patient assumes a particular position, in which the pain is reduced. If individual muscles strain, temperature can increase in the neck. If the sciatica came on the background of degenerative disc disease, possible complications: dizziness, instability of gait, hearing and sight. Sometimes a person needs a hospital or hospitalization.
If you suspect a cervical sciatica, you must consult a neurologist. He will prescribe x-rays and a CT scan will assess the condition of the muscles, reflexes, and degree of pinching roots.
- Sciatica thoracic
Neurology of the disease depends on the degree of damage to roots in the region of the thoracic spine. The patient back pain along the intercostal nerves, this feeling is greatly increased by sneezing, coughing, deep breathing or walking. Discomfort gives to the line of the abdomen or chest, sometimes it applies to the area of the heart and can cause palpitations and breathing.
Disease such localization is rarer than the other, but the probability of its occurrence cannot be ruled out. When you first signs you should go to the doctor, go through computer and magnetic resonance tomography. It is not necessary to self-medicate: to put a correct diagnosis is extremely difficult, because the chest the sciatica is often confused with heart attacks or problems in the lungs.
The defeat of the nerve roots in the thoracic spine can be caused by osteochondrosis, spinal injury, serious physical exercise and age-related changes. Sometimes the problem is infectious in nature – it becomes a complication of herpes. It can provoke hypothermia or a cold.
- Sciatica lumbosacral
This is the most common form of the disease. Like other varieties, it is manifested by severe pain in the lumbar region, muscle weakness and loss of sensitivity. The discomfort often radiates to the leg or in the stomach. Depending on the arrangement struck roots it can spread to the surface right or left hip, to capture the hip joint.
Pain with radiculitis of the lumbar can be of three types:
- Cross – abrupt and acute discomfort that occurs after exposure to cold or exercise, may last from several hours to several days.
- Sciatica – pain in the buttocks and the muscles of the hind leg, the cause of which is the defeat of the largest nerve human sciatic. She can be tolerant, and can completely deprive the patient of opportunities to move around.
- Sciatica – a cross between the pain of the first and second kind, starts in the lumbar region, gradually spreading to the leg, reaching only to the foot.
Acute sciatica of the lumbar spine causes a person to literally freeze in one position. During this period, it is better to refuse from any business, take sick leave and to concentrate all forces for treatment.
How to recognize sciatica during pregnancy
Sciatica in late pregnancy is common. During this period, the fetus becomes large, and the pressure on the lumbar spine women increases. The composition of bone tissue may also vary under the action occurring in the body hormonal changes.
Most of the ladies in the period of gestation there is pain in the lumbar region and the sciatic nerve, but only 30% of them the diagnosis is radiculopathy. The risk of disease increases if the sciatica episodes occurred before the pregnancy.
If the doctor diagnosed the illness, the woman recommended rest, restriction of physical activity. Drug therapy is less frequently used because many of the tools from acute or chronic sciatica during this period is contraindicated.
Back hurts during pregnancy, for various reasons, so you should not self-medicate. It is better to promptly contact your doctor who will give you the correct diagnosis. Correctly prescribed treatment will save you from severe attacks of disease or of its transition in the chronic form.
Treatment and prevention of sciatica
At the first signs of radiculopathy, you need to ensure that the patient rest and immobilize the affected section of the spine. Doctors recommend that you lie on your back, slightly bending legs in the knees, and under the foot to put a low cushion, so that his feet did not touch the bed. From constraint activity depends on the number of days will continue the acute phase of the disease. On the location of the disease can put a heating pad or warm compress, you can use a warming ointment, for example, Diclofenac sodium.
Treatment for sciatica is aimed at eliminating pain and spasm, inflammation and edema. For these purposes, use anti-inflammatory and pain medications. In severe forms of the disease the patient hospitalitynet. His spine is immobilized, and blockers of pain is administered intramuscularly.
Radiculopathy is faster to combine drug treatment with other methods of exposure:
- massage – relieves muscle spasms, normalizes blood circulation in the affected area;
- acupuncture helps to restore nerve impulses;
- therapeutic exercise – exercises are chosen by the physician, they redistribute the load on the spine and thereby reduce the degree of pinching of the nerve roots.
It is important to start treatment promptly because radiculopathy can cause serious complications: paralysis of the lower extremities, the transition to the chronic form. If conservative treatment does not help, but the case is complicated by herniated discs, the patient may be scheduled for surgery for complete removal of the disc.
To avoid many unpleasant consequences allows the prevention of sciatica. Protect yourself from exposure, shock and other aggressive effects on the spine. If your job is sedentary in nature, add to your life moderate exercise. Try during the day at work to distract from current Affairs and to perform small exercises. Remember that to prevent illness is always easier than to treat.