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Patients suffering with Sciatica experience pain shooting down the leg.
There can be a number of different causes, most being treatable by Chiropractors.
what is sciatica?
Sciatica is pressure on the Sciatic Nerve which starts in the Lower Back and runs down the back of your leg to your foot.
The Sciatic nerve is the LARGEST and LONGEST nerve in the human body.
Each leg has a sciatic nerve in it.
Most commonly, you do not need a scan (X-ray, MRI) to diagnose Sciatica – Problems such as disc bulges and arthritis show up on scans with people without any pain also.
Most Sciatica improves within weeks to months with the correct treatment and care, and doesn’t cause permanent damage.
If you do start to experience pain in both legs, trouble controlling your bowel or bladder or severe weakness or numbness in your legs, then you should seek immediate medical attention.
Are you experiencing any of these Sciatica symptoms?
Pain down the back of the leg
Sharp, pinching, “nerve” like pain
Numbness, tingling or pins & needles in the leg
Difficulty finding a comfortable position when sleeping
Difficulty getting out of bed
Pain with Sneezing, coughing or sudden movements
Then you may be experiencing Sciatica.
what are the
causes of sciatica?
The pressure on the Sciatic Nerve is usually caused by:
– Disc Bulge – disc material pushes out and puts extra pressure on the Sciatic nerve.
– Arthritis (causing a small bone called Osteophyte to block the hole where the nerve comes out)
– Piriformis syndrome – This is a muscle in the Gluteal area – 1 in 7 people have the Sciatic nerve pass straight through the muscle instead of below it. Therefore they can be more prone to getting Sciatica symptoms.
– Canal Stenosis – the space where the nerves run is reduced (usually by arthritis)
– Spondylolisthesis – slippage forward of one vertebrae (spinal bone) on another, that puts pressure on the Sciatic nerve. Usually caused by arthritis or traumatic sports injury (AFL, Rugby)
who is at risk of sciatica?
There are 3 Major types of people at risk of getting Sciatica Pain:
1. Sedentary (Sitting) Jobs – Office/Desk Job
The lack of movement and continued pressure on the gluteal muscles (buttocks) can decrease movement in the joints of the spine & surrounding muscles.
2. Repetitive Physical Trauma
Repetitive lifting and bending (Eg. A job standing bent over a bench all day) or High Impact Sports – Eg. Repetitive tackles
3. Poor Health – Obesity & Inactive Lifestyle – This puts more strain on the structures of your body, mechanically & chemically.
how do you get sciatica pain relief?
The most common treatment patients seek is a combination of Manual Therapy and Pain relief (medication, heat, ice therapies).
Manual Therapy is less invasive and is usually recommended to trial before more invasive options (i.e. surgery).
Our Chiropractic Team explain their top approaches to Sciatica Pain Relief:
1. Chiropractic Adjustments (Spinal Manipulations & Mobilizations): These get movement into the joints and muscles, and can release pressure on the nerves which are causing the Sciatica Pain.
Depending on how severe the pain is, Mobilizations provide a more gentle approach instead.
2. Soft Tissue Muscle Release – Surrounding the Joints & Nerves there may be tension in the Muscles close by as they protect the injured area.
3. Nerve Flossing – Believe it or not, nerves don’t like to be stretched! They like to be moved back and forth in a gliding motion. It is a simple technique to use at home to decrease nerve tension and pain.
4. Gentle Stretches to the Gluteal Muscles.
5. Strengthening Exercises – These aim to strengthen the muscles surrounding the Lower Back/Core areas. This takes extra pressure off the joints & nerves.
The strengthening exercises should be directed by your Health Professional as the exercises will be specific to what your body needs.
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