When your elderly loved one is complaining about pain in the lower back or the leg, they may be suffering from sciatica. Inflammation of the sciatic nerve can really have a negative effect on an elderly loved one, and with sciatica they will need some extra help in managing their pain and getting around. Family caregivers should take the time to learn more about sciatica and how it affects elderly people.
Here are some frequently asked questions about sciatica in seniors:
Q: What is the sciatic nerve?
A: The sciatic nerve is the largest in the human body and begins at the base of the spine. It branches out over each buttock and runs down the back of each leg. The sciatic nerve ends in each foot. When the nerve is compressed, pinched or otherwise irritated, it signals pain to the brain.
Q: What does sciatica feel like?
A: Sciatica has been described as a burning or tingling pain at various points along the sciatic nerve. The pain can be intermittent or chronic, and varies in intensity from person to person. Many seniors find the pain more intense after sitting for long periods of time. Sciatica also makes it hard for seniors to get up and down from a sitting to standing position.
Q: What causes sciatica?
A: There can be several different causes for the collection of symptoms known as sciatica. The most common are slipped discs, herniated discs, bone spurs, arthritis and nerve root compression. Conditions that exacerbate sciatica include obesity, diabetes, bone weakness, joint weakness and lack of exercise.
Q: How do doctors treat sciatica?
A: Doctors will begin treating sciatica with anti-inflammatory medicine and recommend heat or cold to alleviate pain. Steroid injections can help relieve pain for up to several months. Physical therapy and visits to a chiropractor can also provide some seniors with pain relief. In extreme cases, surgery may be needed to treat sciatica.
Q: Does sciatica ever go away?
A: There is no single cure for sciatica because there are many different causes for why the nerve is irritated. Depending on the cause, there can be a complete recovery for some, while others have a more challenging time with treatments. Working closely with a doctor is the best way for elderly people to have the best chance of getting over sciatica.
Q: What can family caregivers do to help?
A: Sciatica can be very debilitating for seniors, and they may need some help with stretching, keeping on a regular schedule for medicine and getting to and from appointments. Working through sciatica with an aging loved one is just part of an overall elderly care plan that family caregivers must incorporate into their schedule to ensure maximum health and happiness for aging loved ones.
No matter what level of pain an elderly loved one is in, it’s important to get medical help for them right away so that treatments can begin and their pain levels are manageable. Family caregivers will feel better when they are able to see the elderly care about getting up and about despite the irritation and inconvenience of sciatica.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in San Mateo, CA, call the caring staff at Aviva In-Home Care. Call today: (415) 795-2203
At Aviva, we also use the latest in health technology to maximize opportunities for communication between all members of our client’s care circles. We utilize nursing oversight to ensure that we are in compliance with physician orders, and that our careplans are being properly administered. Lastly, Aviva is a proud member of The Senior’s Choice, a national network of leading home care agencies that share best practices and focus on continual improvement.
As owner of the business, I also promise to you my direct involvement in your loved ones care, and will always make myself available for feedback and improvements in our service. I look forward to working with you and your loved one on creating a care plan that is perfectly suited to the family's needs. Thank you for considering Aviva as your care partner.
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