What is Sciatica? Sciatica is the irritation of the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in the body (it is technically composed of three nerves). It causes referred nerve pain in the lower back, hip, and travels down the distal section of the leg, into the foot. If you suffer from Sciatica, you may experience pain, numbness, and/or a tingling sensation in the leg.
Although there can be many causes which contribute to sciatica, there are three common issues which can be seen repeatedly. A herniated disc contributes to pain when bending forward. Stenosis and arthritis lead to pain when standing or walking. A pelvic problem, or issues arising from the SI joint (the connecting joint in between the sacral bone and the pelvis-hip bone) will flare up when sitting or lifting the leg while getting dressed.
The single biggest mistake most often made by those suffering in pain make is that they ignore it. Often, people will avoid, alter, or try to handle the pain themselves. The first step taking control over discomfort is asking the question: Is the pain, numbness, and tingling reproducible? If so, then it is most often reducible. Also, finding what activities and movements are causing your aches in your body is incredibly important. Do you have difficulty standing, walking, sitting, or lifting? How about getting dressed, getting in and out of bed, or getting in and out of the car?
When pain is persistent usually people start talking about their problems to trusted family and friends, which then produces advice for a magic cream or pill which may or may not work. Have you found yourself walking through the aisles of a drugstore trying to figure out what herbs, creams, or pills you can take without causing major side effects?
When pain cannot be resolved with over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or other common pain medications, one seeks help by a physician which would lead to a diagnosis, and later prognosis. However, even prescribed medication which may be highly effective in treating the symptoms may trigger adverse or damaging side effects, and often does not address the root cause of the problem.
Although the outcome may seem bleak, there is a variety of different options you have to become pain-free. Stretching is vital to keeping the body both loose and limber. It reduces the chance of the body ending up in kinked positions, similar to a knot in a garden hose. In general, remaining active instead of static allows the body to move as normally as possible. When you are in pain, it is common to become afraid of moving the incorrect way, causing a reduced incentive to move. With that being said, listen to your body. Moving through the pain without an understanding of how to move properly can increase your likelihood of re-injury.
Finally, seek professional help. Whether it is a general practitioner chiropractor, physical therapist, or massage therapist, having a medical leader guide you through your journey to recovery is essential to living the life you have always wanted, free of pain.
Schenk is the owner of Results Physical Therapy and founder of the Results Treatment Method.
For more information, please log on to www.resultsrehab.com, or call at 619-437-6450.