You will probably have heard of the term sciatica and I see a lot of people who come to me with ‘sciatica type’ pain in my clinic in Moate. However, there are also a lot of people who come to me and think they have sciatica but often don’t. (It has often been diagnosed by one of their buddies)
Sciatica is the sensation of pain, numbness, pins and needles or sometimes a burning sensation on either the back, hips or legs.
The sciatic is the largest nerve in your body, roughly the size of your finger in width, and it runs from your lower back, down the back of your leg to your feet. This is why it can often give a sharp pain down to your foot.
What causes Sciatica?
True sciatica is when the sciatic nerve becomes irritated, sensitized or injured and gives you that sharp painful experience that can travel down your leg. It can sometimes feel like an electric shock.
However,a lot of people who think they have sciatica, often just have symptoms that are similar and are not actually driven by irritation of the nerve. Muscles, tendons and ligaments can give pain in the buttocks and hamstring area that is similar.
If you were to google sciatica a lot of sites will say that it is caused by a pinched or trapped nerve but it is important to note that our nerves get pinched and squashed every time we move and sit throughout the day and often do not cause any symptoms. it is only when the nerve is sensitized that it then contributes to the ‘sciatica type’ sensations.
Nerves can become sensitized for a number of reasons including continuous compression, lack of movement, stress and over training but the reason will be individual to the person.
The most common reason I see in my clinic of ‘sciatica type’ pain is imbalances in the muscles around the hip which causes protective tone in some muscles which leads to a painful experience. Your brain will view protective tone in your hip muscle as a threat and give off some nice sensations, letting you know something is not right.
(To read more about the reasons behind how pain occurs click here)
So How Do I help people who have Sciatica?
Simply, by identifying the true cause of the problem and addressing it. Sometimes that is not so simple and can take a bit of investigative work but the question I will always ask is “why has this nerve become sensitized in the first place or if it is not the nerve that is the main problem then, why have the hip muscles developed protective tone?”
Once the main driver of route cause of the problem is found, then the problem can be addressed for good. Often other treatments like massage, manipulations, chiropractors and foam rolling can help relieve symptoms, but this relief can be short term.
Addressing the true cause and not just treating the symptoms is what I aim for with every patient. Identifying the true cause comes from listening to the persons story and doing an in-depth assessment. Often something will have changed in the persons lifestyle to bring on the symptoms, be it training volume, a previous injury or a change of job or lifestyle.
If you think you are suffering from sciatica and it is not going away and you would like some more information on this, then give me a call today to see how I can help you make sense of why your pain may not be going away.
Call the clinic on 089 210 2586
Also if you know someone who is suffering with back pain and would like some free help then download my 7 Tips on How To Ease Back Pain. You’ll receive it free by clicking on the link here