Sciatica - Diagnosing Sciatica Is A Complex Procedure
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Diagnosing Sciatica Is A Complex Procedure

What are the causes behind the pain of sciatica? Sciatica is usually associated with compression of the sciatic nerve due to a slipped or a herniated disc. A degenerative disc disease is a condition that is brought about by the ageing process. The sciatic nerve is sometimes pinched by the piriformis muscle that is located deep in the buttocks. Sciatic pain can also be caused by conditions that are not related with disc. Bad postures can also lead to pseudo sciatica, a pain that is similar to sciatica.

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  A physical examination and the medical history of the patient are very important for diagnosing sciatica. The doctor needs to eliminate normal back pain or lumbago before proceeding for sciatic nerve treatment. There is always a possibility that a difference in lengths of the two legs may cause pain in the lower back.

In most cases, medical history is able to identify patients that are likely to have a herniated disc. Sciatic pain is superficial and localized. It also gives a feeling of numbness or tingling. It aggravates when pressure is applied between discs.

Physical examinations include the following procedures.

* The patient may be asked to lie down, face upward and the affected leg is then raised to various heights. * The doctor may also ask the patient to rotate the hip joint. Pain caused by these movements can often help in pinpointing the location of the pain and assessing the hip muscles. * Testing the strength of bending backward of the ankles and toes can also indicate the position where the nerve is likely to be pinched. * Another test used by many doctors is the reflex of your ankles.

Symptoms such as a disability in walking suggest nerve root compression. In cases symptoms that are severe enough to consider a surgical intervention the physical examination is mostly followed by other investigative procedures. To confirm any doubts the physician might ask for, the doctor might perform any or all of the following tests:

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* X-Rays * Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) * Computed Tomography (CT) Scan. * Electromyography - passing an electric current through a nerve to record the electrical waves associated with the activity of skeletal muscles. * Myelography - X-rays done after injecting a contrast medium into the space between vertebrae.

Diagnosing sciatica is a complex procedure. Since the pain can be indicative of other conditions as well, it is also necessary to rule out more serious conditions like infection or cancer. Sciatic is a progressive disease that can immobilize the patient to a great extent. Sciatica alternative remedies like exercises, yoga and acupuncture can be very effective to stem the progress of a highly developmental condition. On the first signs of pain in the lower back an examination by a specialist is highly recommended.

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Richard provides articles and information about herbal remedies on his site at
Sandra R. Boyes


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