Sciatica and How to Fix it – Part 1

By

Low Back Pain Extensions

Tom Cotter, DC, DACRB
Active HealthKC

 

Sciatica:

sci·at·i·ca

/sīˈadəkə/

noun

  1. pain affecting the back, hip, and outer side of the leg, caused by compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back, often owing to degeneration of an intervertebral disc.

 

We’ve all been at a party or a family function and heard someone complaining about their sciatica. Each person talking about their sciatica might have a slightly different interpretation of what sciatica is.

Sciatica has evolved to mean anything from low back pain to radiating pain into the foot and anything in between.

What sciatica truly is, is pain that radiates from the low back into the leg. Sciatica is named for the sciatic nerve which runs down the back of the leg to the knee.

This month we will be looking at the causes of sciatica, causes of sciatic-like pain, and some exercise to help with each cause.

For the first article we are talking about disc-related sciatic pain, as the definition described. In this case the disc, or pad between the back bones, is either bulging or herniated. Therefore, irritating or putting pressure on the nerve root. Depending on how sever this is, symptoms will range from slight pain in the hip, to pain all the way down the leg. In more severe cases weakness and/or numbness in the leg. If it is simply pain, the disc bulge or herniation is merely causing inflammation in the area, irritating the nerve root. In the case of numbness or weakness, the herniation is putting pressure on the nerve. In doing so, the nerve is unable to properly function.

***Here’s where I’ll throw out a disclaimer. If numbness or weakness is being experienced in the leg, skip the following exercise and schedule with us or your local McKenzie trained  chiropractor to have it professionally evaluated. It can likely be resolved without surgery, but can very easily become worse and or cause permanent damage.***

If it is the mild to moderate pain into your hip or leg, it can often be fixed with a simple exercise. The injury is often caused by the back bending forward too much, too often, or under too much load. The fix is simply to do the opposite. A lot. We sit and bend over and over throughout the day. So, to balance that out, it requires frequent and repetitive, end-range extending. This can be done lying on your stomach and pressing your torso up while keeping your pelvis on the ground. Do this ten times every two hours. Or if you can’t get down on the floor, standing up and leaning as far backwards as you can, ten times every two hours.

As long as the most distal pain is lessening and/or moving towards the spine, things are progressing properly. If pain starts moving farther down the leg, stop and call us.

If these exercises haven’t fully resolved the issue, or you know someone that might benefit from our services, be sure to schedule from our website www.activehealthKC.com or call 913-341-1200.