What is Sciatica?
Most of us have heard of the term, but what really is “true sciatica”? If you have shooting pains that go down the back of your legs, then you already know the answer. To the lucky rest of us, its when the largest nerve exiting your low back and pelvis (your sciatic nerve) is being pinched. There are other shooting pains we can experience traveling down our legs whether on the sides or the front of our thigh or legs, but for it to be considered true sciatica, it must be traveling down the back of the leg.
Why Do We Get Sciatica?
Now that we know what it is, lets figure out the reasons why it’s there in the first place. This pinching, whether originating in your low back or your hips, causes a warning sign to your brain which is the pain that you feel. If originating in the low back, the nerve roots exiting your low back are the victim meaning the ones are rotated in your low back pinching them off. If you have it originating from your hips then this is typically referred to piriformis syndrome. Your pririformis is a muscle in your pelvis which unfortunately travels directly over your sciatic nerve, so when tight it pinches the nerve and everywhere the nerve is traveling to.
Both of these causes in the low back and the pelvis occur because of repetition, usually. I say usually because they can be caused from trauma or during pregnancy in women. You might be asking yourself why repetition? Doesn’t my body take care of itself and self heal? the answer is yes but only under optimal circumstances. It’s the repetitious things we do in everyday life that causes our body to slowly break down, so if we don’t do anything to help it repair then we’re just slowly getting worse and worse! So, in order to help your body repair and relieve that pain, a few things can help.
How can we Manage Sciatica?
A few stretches will help us combat that pain, but it’s not going to solve the problem, only manage it. The first one for the pain originating form the low back is to work on hip-flexors. Those are the muscles on the front of your hips that help bring your knees up to your chest. If they are tight then they pull on the low back, causing it to spasm and pinching off those nerves. Planting your knee on the floor or chair and leaning forward to feel a stretch in the crease of your pants will help with that. The second is for pain originating from your hips. This is whats called a figure four stretch because you make the shape of a letter four with your legs. Sitting in a chair and taking the ankle of the affected leg and placing it on the knee of the unaffected leg and leaning forward where you feel the stretch in your glutes will do the trick. Making sure not to over-do it, stretch then ease off then back to stretch it, so you pain doesn’t go above a 8/10 on the pain scale.
How Can We FIX Sciatica?
If you’re like me and want to know how to make your pain go away so you never have to deal with it ever again, that’s where I come in. Remember before when I mentioned the pain originating from your low back? Chiropractor’s help to remove subluxations (misalignment) in the spine which can cause that sciatic pain. If it’s originating from the pelvis, we help to change the orientation of the pelvis too so we can take the pressure off the sciatic nerve that way too. Typically where you feel the pain is typically not the problem, but the symptom. Let me repeat that because it’s very important. Where you feel the pain is typically not the problem, but the symptom. So if I adjust only the areas where you have the pain, it may or may not completely go away. I’f I adjust the entire spine, now we’re talking. Everything in your body communicates with each other so something in the neck cause potentially influence something in the low back, right? I’ve seen it enough to answer for you and say yes. If you are experiencing this frustrating pain and live close to me (Parker, CO) come see me. If you are reading this and don’t live near me, find a chiropractor near you and get checked out. Your future self will be thanking you. Share this post if you find it informative, maybe someone you know can benefit from it!
Any questions or concerns or even feedback, give us a call or stop in; our doors are always open.
Your’s in health,
Dr. Alex Willard