Sciatica – what a pain in the butt

Sciatica – what a pain in the butt

Nobody likes to be in pain, but Sciatic pain can be one of the most debilitating conditions to suffer from since it affects your back and legs, and often makes it difficult to go about your daily activities – even to sit down.

What is Sciatica?

The Sciatic nerve runs from the lower back, through the hip and down the back of each leg. When this nerve is injured or compressed it causes pain that starts in the lower back, and radiates through the hip, buttocks and leg – sometimes down as far as the foot. The pain can vary from dull, aching or burning to sharp and shooting. Sciatica can also cause muscle weakness, numbness and tingling.

It is really important to have this condition treated as quickly as possible as long-term compression of the nerve can cause permanent damage – and permanent symptoms.

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica is caused by injury or compression to the nerve. This can be the result of a herniated or bulging disc, a locked facet joint in the lower spine or joint inflammation. Non-structural causes can be Fibromyalgia, diabetes, peripheral neuropath or ischemia (inadequate blood supply).

Identifying the specific cause of a patient’s Sciatica might include x-ray, CT or MRI scans as well as observation and discussion.

Treatment for Sciatica

Generally, the first focus of treatment is relieving the pain. Whilst treatment will depend on the exact cause of the problem, it is likely to include anti-inflammatories, manual manipulation, acupuncture, taping and soft tissue work.

Once the pain and inflammation have subsided, the focus is on restoring flexibility, posture and strengthening. Stability exercises aimed at increasing core strength will help, and swimming or hydrotherapy are ideal as the buoyancy of the body reduces strain on the area.

Be aware of your posture, keeping your spine stretched ‘tall’ allows the spaces in our spine to open up and avoid pinching of the nerves. Exercises like walking or swimming can help to strengthen your lower back. Try to sleep on your side to avoid additional pressure on your back, and place a pillow under your knees. A good rule of thumb is – if it hurts, don’t do it!

Since Sciatica does often recur it is important to undertake a strong rehabilitation programme. Maintaining core strength, mobility and stability is important in avoiding ongoing problems which may become permanent if not resolved.

If you suffer from Sciatic pain, the Chiropractors and Massage Therapists at Precision Health at Baulkham Hills can assist you in reducing pain, managing symptoms and ensuring there is no recurrence. Call the clinic on 9639 7337 to book an appointment.

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