If you’re a truck driver who has been in the business for at least a few years, you’ve probably experienced pain that can range from a slight ache in your lower back, to an excruciating shock that continues down your buttock and into your leg.

These are the symptoms of sciatica and they are common among truck drivers. Sitting behind the wheel for countless hours, lifting and carrying heavy loads, and twisting your back are all contributing factors to the condition. Obesity, diabetes, and ageing can increase your risk of developing it. Below are the symptoms and also the treatments of chronic sciatic pain.

What is sciatic nerve pain?

Sciatica is a term used for the symptoms that occur when the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in your body, becomes irritated, inflamed, or compressed. The pain is usually felt in one leg and can be very intense (think about your worst toothache!). The frustrating part: Since most sufferers don’t know how they got sciatica, they don’t know what they can do to prevent it in the future.

Sciatica symptoms you should know

  • You feel pain and weakness: Weakness somewhere along the sciatic nerve pathway is a common symptom whenever the nerve is pinched.
  • The pain is on one leg: The condition generally affects one side or the other but usually not both sides at the same time.
  • You catch your foot on the ground: Numbness along the nerve’s pathway can prevent your leg and foot from working correctly.
  • Laughing, coughing, or sneezing makes the pain worse: An unexpected sneeze can feel like an electric shock.
  • The pain gets worse at night: You might also experience a pins-and-needles sensation that makes it hard to sleep.
  • It has become difficult to control your bowels or bladder: Although it’s a rare symptom, see a doctor right away if you experience it.

Traditional treatments

In most cases, sciatic nerve pain will go away on its own within ninety days. In the meantime, some medications will ease the pain:

  • Prescription and over-the-counter pain relievers;
  • Anti-inflammatories;
  • Muscle relaxants;
  • Narcotics; and
  • Anti-depressants.

Just remember, all of these medications have possible side-effects, and some cannot be used while you’re driving. Check with your doctor before using any of these medications.

Natural treatments

Drugs are not the only way to get relief. Here are some natural remedies:

  • Chiropractic spinal adjustments;
  • Yoga and stretching;
  • Acupuncture and massage therapy; and
  • Heating pads or ice: It sounds contradictory, but heat works better for some people and ice for others.

Would you like to learn more about a career in trucking? To start your job search, contact a Contracted Driver Services representative today.