Looking for a helpful guide to Sciatica? You’re in the right place! We’ve assembled this succinct and straight-forward guide to Sciatica packed with helpful information answering some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this health condition.
A GUIDE TO SCIATICA
After sitting all day do you ever get shooting pain down your leg or lower back pain? This is often a common occurrence for many people working a desk job or even something that occurs when they pick up something incorrectly. When we sit all day long in a chair or driving our hip flexors tighten up which ultimately can pull our hips out of alignment. This anterior pelvic tilt can create excess pressure on our sciatic nerve causing sciatica. Is it fixable? Yes! Is it a pain in the butt to deal with? Literally!
WHAT IS SCIATICA?
Sciatic nerve pain is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve in the lumbar spine. This can cause pain in the lower back or send a radiating pain signal down the back of the leg. Common symptoms include:
- Lower back pain
- A “pins & needles” feeling
- A “pinched” feeling
Sciatica either occurs from a direct injury (fall, car or sports accident, etc.), or is more commonly symptomatic of postural disorders. The human spine is composed of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae. The sciatic nerve enters and exits the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae and Sacrum 1-3. It controls many muscles on the back side to the leg. The sciatic nerve sends electrical signals to muscles to fire. Without it you couldn’t use your legs. Think of a circuit breaker box, wiring and switches in your home or car. If a wire is damaged your lights and appliances won’t work. It’s very similar in the human body. When most people feel this pain it is not permanent damage and instead it is more likely that the compression of the nerve by the vertebral bone or nucleus pulposus can cause significant pain and irritation. However, the nerve can be damaged, but peripheral nerves can repair themselves once the compression and irritation is mitigated. Chronic sciatica could lead to nerve damage, which would feel like chronic burning, stabbing pain or tingling.
WHAT CAUSES SCIATICA?
The following are some of the most common causes sciatica:
- Asymmetrical Occupational Tasks – Typically, repetitive asymmetrical motions that overload tendons and muscles that can lead to pain and tension cause these. These issues can usually be overcome by doing 15 minutes of corrective stretching and strengthening exercise before and after work.
- Incorrectly Designed Workstations – No workstation is perfect. Workstations can be improved and having an ergonomic workstation can greatly reduce the chances of you developing sciatica.
- Lack of Motion – All 10 systems in the human body expect and rely on motion to work optimally. Lack of motion can lead to weak and hypertensive muscles that can lead to strains, sprains and joint degeneration.
- Lack of Proper Exercise & Posture Knowledge
- Incorrect Exercise – An exercise prescription not based on repetitive postural and gait analysis can often increase your risk of developing sciatica.
- Too Many Monocots – Monocots are carbohydrates derived from the grass family. Homosapiens, unlike cows and other herbivores, have digestive systems that are not designed to eat large quantities of this type of carbohydrate. Monocots can negatively affect the integrity of all 10 systems of the body. This includes the integrity of the spine.
- Too Many Inflammatory Omega 6’s – Chronic inflammation and pain can be partially or fully attributed to an excess of omega 6 fatty acids.
- A Lack G.A.G.S, Collagen, and Trace Minerals – These nutrients are the building blocks of the cartilage tissue that support your joints. They provide the post potent antioxidant defenses to protect all of your cells from oxidative damage.
- Dehydration – Water is less than .9 oz. per lbs. of body-weight. Drinking too little water can negatively impact your cartilage, discs, muscles, tendons, bone and ligaments.
WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF SCIATICA?
If you have ever experienced sciatica then you know it is different from other back pain. It takes you by surprise and is a sharp shooting pain accompanied by numbing or tingling. Oftentimes sciatica can be triggered by seemingly mundane activities such as walking in high heels or shoes that are not cushioned, sitting for extended periods of times, stress, pregnancy, tight fitting clothes or excessive weight. More serious postural issues and injuries come into play to create sciatic nerve issues as well. Additional injuries that can create sciatica are: herniated disks, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis and piriformis syndrome. Common Symptoms of Sciatica are:
- Isolated pain originated in the last two lumbar vertebrae or upper sacrum
- A radiating pain down the back of the leg
- Weakness or difficult walking
- Spasms and cramps in the low back, glute and leg are common
- Lower back pain
- A “pins & needles” feeling
- A “pinched” feeling
- Pain can be mild, severe, radiating or sharp
- A burning sensation, foot numbness or weakness is also common
- Pain can get worse with movement
- You may experience the inability to control bowels or bladder which requires immediate medical help
HOW DO YOU TREAT SCIATICA?
Before treatment begins one must go through a postural assessment to identify boney misalignment. This will tell our practitioner which muscles and nerves are not working properly. With this data postural a corrective program is designed to mitigate the misalignments that are causing you pain. Most of our clients are re-assessed once per week and will go through 6-10 programs to mitigate the pain.
- Home Remedies for Sciatica – It’s IMPOSSIBLE to give a general set of exercises without seeing the person first. There are so many possibilities. Generally laying on your back with your legs elevated on a couch or chair with your hips and knees bent to 90 degrees for 15-30 minutes is helpful. Get rid of animal fatty foods, eat lots of water and drink .9 oz. of water per lbs. of body-weight per day. Wearing a back brace temporarily can be helpful
- Massage – A massage can help relieve sciatic nerve pain, not every masseuse knows what they’re doing
- Chiropractor – A chiropractic adjustment for sciatica can help realign spines however untrained and/or inexperienced chiropractors can permanently injure clients
- Calm sciatic nerve pain – The most important thing to remember is to avoid bearing weight on your spine. This includes standing or sitting. Lying on the floor and elevating your legs is sometimes the best relief for sciatic nerve pain. Drinking lots of water, eating an anti-inflammatory diet, and eating a low Calorie diet (cells repair faster) are very helpful.
A HEALTHY LIFE FOR A BETTER LIFE
At Bare Health we are dedicated to helping our clients live better, healthier lives. Whether you are struggling with Sciatica, want help building a sustainable nutrition program, or want to improve your physical fitness, Bare Health can help you! Remember, a better life starts by creating a healthy life.