Back Pain and Sciatica

Back Pain and Sciatica

What are back pain and sciatica?

Back pain may be the result of a wide range of issues, ranging from a specific trauma or injury to arthritis. Sometimes, it can occur out of nowhere and the symptoms can escalate quickly. It can even spread to cause pain in your bottom and legs. This form of pain is often disguised as sciatica. It’s most commonly seen in people aged between forty and fifty years old, but can occur at any age.


What are the symptoms of back pain and sciatica?

If you are experiencing chronic pain (or pain that lasts longer than three months) in your back, that is likely a sign that something more serious is going on. Sciatica has its own unique symptoms, which should tip you off if you have developed this condition. Any of the following sensations may present themselves in the bottom, legs, or feet of the person:

  • Stabbing, burning, or shooting pains
  • Tingling, like pins and needles
  • Numbness
  • Weakness

These symptoms may worsen when sneezing or coughing. They will often also be experienced alongside back pain, but the other symptoms will gradually overtake and become worse than the back pain itself. If you only have back pain, it’s likely not sciatica.


What causes back pain and sciatica?

Sciatica can be caused by a number of different things. Ultimately, the condition occurs when something presses or rubs on the sciatic nerve. This can be caused by:

  • A slipped disc, or when a soft cushion of tissue between the bones in your spine pushes out
  • Spinal stenosis, or the narrowing of the part of your spine where nerves pass through
  • Spondylolisthesis, or when one of the bones in your spine slips out of position
  • An alternative back injury

There are also certain behavioural practices that can make a person more likely to develop sciatica. These include:

  • Being inactive
  • Lifting heavy objects unsafely
  • Sitting or standing with bad posture for long periods of time
  • Being overweight

What treatment options are available for back pain and sciatica?

Sciatica will usually get better on its own within four to six weeks. However, there are certain practices that you can do to speed up the recovery and make sure that it doesn’t come back:

  • Carry on with your normal activities as much as possible, so that you stay active
  • Regular physiotherapy exercises for sciatica
  • Gentle exercise as soon as you can
  • Holding heat packs to the painful areas
  • Pharmacy or over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen (paracetamol on its own is unlikely to relieve the pain)
  • Sleeping with a small, firm cushion between your knees when on your side, or placing several firm pillows underneath your knees when sleeping on your back

A patient may need to see a doctor if sciatica persists for longer than four to six weeks. They will be able to offer more extreme forms of treatment to help manage the symptoms, such as:

  • Physiotherapy exercises and stretches
  • Prescription painkillers
  • Psychological support, to help cope with the pain
  • Painkilling injections
  • A procedure to seal off some of the nerves in your back so they stop sending pain signals
  • A surgical operation called decompression surgery that can sometimes help relieve sciatica

How can medical cannabis help with back pain and sciatica?

Another form of potential relief from the symptoms is medical cannabis. There has been proven success in medical cannabis helping a variety of pain-related conditions. For example, in 2019, a study from the United States showed that patients suffering from chronic pain experienced a noticeable reduction in pain symptoms when treated with medical cannabis. 

Opioids are often a common choice for helping with chronic pain. Medical cannabis is already being put forward by experts as an alternative medication to opioids, reducing the risk of developing a dependency and other unwanted side-effects. What’s more, this study from 2012 states that cannabis can help lead to a greater cumulative relief of pain. That means fewer opiates are used and reduces the impact of the associated side-effects.

Our expert specialist doctors at The Medical Cannabis Clinics seek to raise awareness about how medical cannabis can help those faced with sciatica and back pain. They offer private online video link consultations, where patients can learn more about treatment options and receive personalised care.

Your prescription can be tailored to suit your individual circumstances and needs, with ongoing support and adjustments made as necessary. Appointments start from only £70. Book a private consultation today and one of our expert specialist doctors will be able to guide you through your treatment options.

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