Top 9 Most Common Myths About Sciatica

myths about sciatica

Sciatica is a common affection, yet lots of people overlook it. The lack of education and a bunch of myths can harm in the long run. Mistaken beliefs make people ignore the pain and blame it on an unhealthy lifestyle, without realizing that they may actually require a treatment. They can delay it until it becomes exquisite and affect the quality of life.

The pain associated with sciatica can go in two different directions. It could be mild and less likely to bother you, but it could also be excruciating. Many times, it will go away by itself, yet some lifestyle changes are still recommended. Now, what are the most popular myths regarding sciatica and what is the truth behind them?

1. Sciatica is random and can never be prevented

Sciatica cannot always be prevented, but there are a few things one can do to reduce the risk. For example, staying active and exercising on a regular basis will most likely help. Perform exercises accordingly and use the right form in order to prevent injuries and reduce the incidence of sciatica – starting with a lower back pain.

A strong core is mandatory to prevent the affection – or at least overcome it in a more comfortable way. Simply put, work on the back, as well as your abdomen. Strength exercises are not everything – some people go for pilates, which is just as useful. Other than that, prevention implies maintaining flexibility, keeping weight under control, maintaining excellent spine alignment and minimizing sitting.

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2. Surgery is the only option against sciatica

You do not have to be a genius to know it – a healthy lifestyle and the right adjustments will keep sciatica away. But then, all doctors also provide advice on how to prevent it. You also have to consider its recurrence, meaning you are not really over it. This is one of the most problematic myths about sciatica – while you can heal it, it can also come back.

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Many cases will get healed within one or two months without requiring surgery. There are other medical treatments that can help in the process, such as injections or medical physical therapies. If such treatments fail or the pain and numbness tend to become chronic, surgery will kick in. The majority of cases can be handled without surgery though.

3. Resting is the way to overcome sciatica

Elders will most likely recommend staying at home and resting if you have sciatica. There is literally no truth behind it. Most doctors agree that physical effort – to a certain extent – is actually recommended. Physical activity is generally a good idea, but without exaggerating or making it uncomfortable. If you can avoid excessive rest, go for it. Even if you are only walking around the neighborhood, it is still better than resting all day long.

While there are benefits associated with physical activity, there are no benefits associated with staying in bed.

sciatica and walking

4. No one knows what causes sciatica

This is another common myth – the fact is sciatica kicks in when the sciatic nerve is affected. It could be compressed or perhaps pinched. A herniated disc can be the cause behind this problem, but bulging may also be an issue.

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A bony growth or spinal stenosis are also common causes of sciatica, among others. Proper investigations must be conducted for the doctor to tell precisely what has caused the affection. While rare, sciatica may also be caused by spinal tumors affecting the nerve.

5. Sciatica is a medical condition

This is one of the most popular myths about sciatica. Given its name and diagnostic, sciatica can easily be taken for a medical condition. It sounds like one and it looks like one. The truth is it is not. Instead, it is an actual symptom. It indicates that something is wrong with a nerve root located around the lower back. In other words, identifying the cause is critical in the treatment.

6. Pain is the only issue associated with sciatica

Pain is the most common cause associated with sciatica. This is its main sign, but definitely not the only one. Most patients will only experience pain though, but severe cases can become much more problematic. For example, sciatica can also lead to embarrassing situations if you fail to control the bladder or bowels.


7. Pain medication is the only way to overcome sciatica

There are many drugs your doctor could prescribe to deal with the pain. For example, you could get classic painkillers, but muscle relaxants are also common. Narcotics or even anti seizure drugs can be prescribed. All these drugs will come with potential adverse reactions. More importantly, they do not represent the main solution against sciatica. In fact, they only target the effects of sciatica and never the root cause, meaning some lifestyle changes are more important.

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8. All leg pain is associated with sciatica

Lots of people naturally assume that leg pains indicate sciatica, but this is one of the numerous myths about sciatica only. Leg pain can be given by a series of affections, such as cellulites, muscular strains or even vascular issues. Different nerves can also cause leg pains, such as an inflammation of the femoral nerve.

The main type of sciatic pain begins around the central part of the buttock and goes down the leg. It gets over the knee and affects the calf too.

Suggested article – 3 Proven Ways To Relieve Buttock Pain

9. Nothing can cure sciatica

Many patients believe that nothing can cure sciatica. Sure, it will improve overtime, but many of them believe drugs or lifestyle changes will not help. Indeed, nothing will happen overnight. It takes time for these changes to kick in and sciatica will most likely improve after up to eight weeks.


As a short final conclusion, these are some of the most popular myths about sciatica. Avoid educating yourself from random sources – instead, stick to reliable sources over the Internet or simply get in touch with your specialist doctor. It is imperative to make a few lifestyle changes – at least until the problem is gone, while getting a specialized treatment will add to the overall effectiveness.

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