Pope Francis falls on plane steps after Greece visit
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A flare-up of pain in his right knee, in addition to a pre-existing longstanding case of sciatica, which causes nerve pain in the legs, has left the pope with walking difficulties. The Lebanon trip was planned for June 12-13, as the Lebanese government had announced, but it’s **now likely to take place after the summer. The Vatican never officially announced the trip, but the Pope has referred to plans relating to it in recent interviews.
The Pope is due to make two more trips in July, one to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo and the other to Canada.
Sources that spoke to Reuters said that the Pope’s health was the main concern for the postponement of the Lebanon trip.
A plan for the Pope to go from Lebanon to Jerusalem on June 14 to meet Kirill, the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, had already been cancelled due to the war in Ukraine.
Last Thursday, the Pope used a wheelchair in public for the first time and has used one since during private and public audiences.
He told an Italian newspaper last week he was receiving anti-inflammatory injections to help with an injured ligament.
Back in April, the Pope said he was mainly treating his knee pain by regularly putting ice on it and taking painkillers.
The pontiff sufferers from sciatica, a condition where the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back to the feet, is irritated or compressed.
It can cause stabbing pains that can cause burning, or shooting sensations, according to the NHS website.
Other symptoms of sciatica can include a tingling feeling – similar to pins and needles.
A person with the condition can also experience numbness in the affected area or weakness in movement.
It is often linked to back pain, and can be caused by a back injury.
Other causes of the condition include spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the part of the spine where nerves pass through.
Sciatica can also be caused by spondylolisthesis, a condition when one of the bones in the spine slips out of position.
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But the most common cause is a slipped disc, occurring when a soft cushion of tissue between the bones in the spine pushes out.
According to the NHS, patients with sciatica may need psychological support to cope with the pain.
Other than pain-killing injections, a patient with sciatica might have to undergo a procedure to seal off some of the nerves in the back so they stop sending pain signals.
An operation called decompression surgery is also an option for patients with sciatica.
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