Sciatica is a painful symptom of a disorder in the lumbar spine. The intervertebral discs are filled with a soft liquid in the middle called nucleus pullouts and when a disc prolapses this liquid squeezes out and puts pressure on the spinal cord compressing the nerve routes and causing pain. Strengthen the core stabilizing muscles of the spine. – Lumbar bulging, which is the swelling of a lumbar spine disc, is one of the usual causes of sciatica. Another probable cause of the sciatica pain is a herniated disc, which occurs when the fluid that is inside the lumbar spine discs increase out of the shell. Chemicals are being contained by the fluid; thus, causes sciatic nerve irritation.
There are numerous causes of pain ranging from common muscle spasms, disc disease, to instability from weaknesses in ligaments or bony integrity. Covering different causes of back pain is beyond the scope of this article. The purpose of writing this is to explain the two terms used in common day parlance, lumbar spondylosis and sciatica. When the hamstring is injured, the body will naturally compensate for it by employing other nearby muscles to do the work the hamstrings normally do. Lower back muscles may be called into action when the leg is moved, though this action is beyond its scope of natural duties. The muscles in the back and hips that compensate for hamstrings can become sore and strained.
Another group of sciatica stretches are commonly referred to as McKenzie exercises, named after physical therapist, Robin McKenzie. The most often used of these exercises involve extension or backward bending of the lumbar spine. Spinal extension is used with the intention of squeezing bulging disc material forward and away from nerve branches that form the larger sciatic. The physician will complete a thorough physical examination, evaluate your posture, test your range of motion and note any specific movements that cause pain. He will examine your spine, note its curvature and alignment and check for muscle spasms. The physician will test your reflexes, your muscle strength, neurological changes, and pain distribution.
The usual signs and symptoms consist of severe back pain that goes down into the buttocks and into the leg and foot. The pain can be so severe that it prevents you from getting out of bed, going to work and even enjoying social and recreational activities with your family and friends. As I mentioned above, sciatica can be a result of many different causes, and it is the cause of your sciatica which dictates the exercises needed to be performed, not the sciatica itself. There are five lumbar vertebrae in a normal spine. At each of these levels a nerve root comes out on each side and is named according to that level. If a nerve root comes out at the fourth lumbar vertebra level, it’s called L4. At the fifth lumbar level, it’s called L5.
Like all alternative therapies, chiropractic care is also based on the self-healing capacity of the body. Chiropractic care does not seek to cure, but instead helps to restore the spine to its original position so that the herniated disc does not compress the sciatic nerve. The first stage in treating patients with sciatica is conservative treatment. In fact the vast majority of patients who are suffering with sciatica will have complete relief of their pain with time. The problem typically will heal itself over 4-8 weeks, and patients will be able to resume their normal activities.
Even though the pain is a result of a pinched nerve at L5, the term sciatica is commonly used to describe the painful symptoms since L5 comprises part of the sciatic nerve. It just sounds better than “L5ica”. Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti inflammatories, specifically the non-steroidal variety, can relieve the pain and inflammation of the sciatic nerve. Contrast heat and cold treatments-switching between heat and ice packs in three minute cycles-can be incredibly helpful as well. The piriformis muscle is located in the hip to buttock area. When this muscle is in spasm or tightened for an extended period of time it can put a great deal of pressure on the sciatic nerve. Allowing this muscle to relax will help alleviate pressure from the sciatic nerve and ultimately reduce the signs and symptoms of sciatica.
Naturally, as you know by now if you’ve read my previous articles and watched my videos on sciatica, sciatic nerve pain is an expression of a condition and not the problem in and of itself. An example of this might be the pain you feel when you burn yourself. The burning sensation is a signal that your skin has been exposed to heat, the pain is not the problem, although it may be at that particular moment, it is a signal that your skin is too close to the flame. The same is true of sciatica. If you have pain going down the front of your leg, you probably have muscle spasms of the quadriceps muscles; if down the side, it’s probably contracted muscles that attach to the ilio-tibial (IT) band. Less common is entrapment of nerve roots other than those of the sciatic nerve – but that’s not sciatica.
Massage therapy is also a helpful and natural treatment option for sciatica. As the sciatic nerve is often entrapped due to muscle tension, massage can help to not only relax the body holistically, but to work through issues in the specific muscle groups that may be at the source of sciatic nerve problems. Massage is more than a luxury, as at least three studies have shown its benefits specific to treating sciatica. 3. Degenerative Disc Disease: Once again, degenerative disc disease is not a disease any more than sciatic nerve pain, called sciatica, is a specific condition. Degenerative disc disease is a breakdown of the IVDs, the intervertebral discs, and is usually a consequence of aging combined with the any or all of the 5 principal factors affecting the spine as we age.
Within reason, any stretch for either the piriformis or hamstring muscles should be suffice. However, it will be important to begin gently to start with. Only when you feel comfortable with your particular stretch should you think about progressing to more aggressive ones. The diagnostic studies will serve to help confirm the diagnosis and clarify any discrepancies between the history and the physical examination. This will include plain xrays and MRI in the majority of cases. Plain CT scans are of limited use in patients with sciatica. The exception to this would be the patient who has already had a spinal fusion and is suffering with sciatica. These patients will need a CT-Myelogram (contrast).
A chiropractor employs various methods for treating sciatica pain. The most common and effective among them is spinal manipulation of the dislocations that have occurred in the patient’s body. This involves application of gentle and minimal pressure, or fast high velocity thrusts to restore the position of the misaligned vertebrae in the spinal column. Sciatica is a pain that starts in the back and radiates down one of the legs. It is quite a common complaint and is sciatica is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve which runs down into the leg. The medical term is acute nerve root compression. The cause of pressure can be varied from a Slipped (Prolapsed) disk to muscle tension (Piriformis syndrome) or something less common such as a tumors, bony growths and infections.
2. Tumors on or near the spine: Tumors, particularly tumors or abnormal growth (e.g., scar tissue) affecting the nerves or nerve roots as they exit the spinal canal and intervertebral foramen, will sciatic nerve pain or sciatica. If you have diabetes and feel either pain, numbness or tingling in the lower back that travels down the leg, you likely have sciatica. Symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst, constant hunger, fatigue and slow healing. If you experience these in conjunction with sciatica symptoms but don’t know if you’re diabetic, it’s a good idea to get tested.}