Sciatica is a name given to almost any back pain! It’s one of the most common conditions I see in the office. The sciatic nerve comes from the low back and supplies the leg. Often, people will complain of a nerve-y, tingling feeling down the leg and sometimes even all the way into the foot. Sometimes patients also complain of back pain with sciatica, but not always!
What Causes Sciatica?:
- Sciatica can be caused by several different things. First, it’s possible there is a disc issue in the low back that is pressing on the nerves and creating an irritation in the sciatic nerve. This patient will usually have some sort of back pain.
- Second, sciatica can be caused by a muscle called the piriformis. This is a pear-shaped muscle right underneath your back pocket! Sometimes this muscle becomes very tight and can irritate the nerve as well. In a minor percentage of the population, the sciatic nerve actually runs THROUGH this muscle! If you have a desk job or sit for a long time throughout the day, it’s likely at some point you’ve had some soreness in this muscle!
- Last, the least common cause of sciatica we see is from an entrapment in the hamstrings. The sciatic nerve pops out of the hamstrings about mid-way down the back of the leg. Sometimes there are adhesions in this area that can irritate the sciatic nerve and create symptoms.
What Should I Do About Sciatica? Are There Remedies for Sciatica?
Let me start by telling you how we diagnose sciatica! First, we lay the patient face-up on the table. We keep the affected leg straight and lift it off the table as high as we can before the patient feels the symptoms. This indicates there is some sort of nerve tension. So, let me ask you…if we diagnose and irritate the nerve by stretching the leg, do you think you should stretch the leg to “get rid” of the sciatica pain? Hopefully you said no!
Great answer! Too often I see patients who said they’ve been dealing with sciatica for many months and continue to stretch the hamstrings, low back and piriformis muscles but they haven’t made any progress. Sometimes stretching isn’t the option and if you’ve tried a few different stretches with no improvement, stretching probably isn’t the issue!
I understand sciatica and low back pain can be a very frustrating and annoying thing to deal with, especially when it starts to affect your favorite activities! If you’ve tried the stretching, foam rolling and haven’t gotten any better, email us at cohlechiro@gmail and ask for our FREE E-Book on how to beat sciatica!