My first bout with sciatica hit me like a freight train! You know the feeling. Burning, searing pain into the buttock or back of your leg. It’s not fun to say the least. It can often feel like it came out of nowhere. It can be both scary and frustrating. In this blog I will cover 3 main topics.
- What is Sciatica?
- What causes Sciatica?
- How to treat Sciatica.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a painful condition that affects millions of people worldwide. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. It runs from the lower back, through the hips and buttocks, and down each leg. When this nerve is compressed or irritated, it can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the affected leg.
What causes Sciatica?
It is caused by compression, tension, or irritation of the nerve. There are several causes of sciatica.
- Herniated discs.
- Spinal stenosis.
- Muscle imbalances.
- Tension in the muscles surrounding the sciatic nerve.
- Age-related changes in the spine.
We used to believe that compression or “pinching” of the nerve was the cause of the pain. This can happen. But we have also come to learn that sometimes the nerve can simply have too much tension on it. This tension doesn’t allow the nerve to glide and move freely during our daily activities. This can ultimately cause pain and inflammation.
How to treat sciatica?
There is a WRONG WAY, a SLOW WAY, and BEST WAY to treat Sciatica!
The WRONG WAY to manage sciatica is to ignore it or self-diagnose and self-treat. This approach can lead to further complications and delays in getting proper treatment.
The SLOW WAY to manage sciatica is to rely solely on rest and over-the-counter pain medications without seeking medical advice.
The BEST WAY to manage sciatica is to seek professional medical advice and get a proper diagnosis. This will help identify the underlying cause of the condition and determine the most effective treatment plan.
One of my favorite techniques to help manage sciatic pain is called nerve gliding or nerve flossing. This technique involves gently moving the sciatic nerve back and forth through specific body movements to reduce tension and irritation. This can help reduce pain and discomfort associated with sciatica and help you return to activity quickly.
Repeat this exercise several times a day, starting with just a few repetitions and increasing as you are able. With regular practice, you should notice a decrease in pain and discomfort associated with sciatica.
There are numerous other treatments depending on the cause. These can include chiropractic, acupuncture, specific rehabilitative exercises, anti-inflammatories, traction, and rarely injections or surgery.
Sciatica can be a painful and debilitating condition. The key is early diagnosis, a plan, and consistency in performing your prescribed exercises. Remember, the body craves movement! Nerve gliding is a simple and effective technique that can be done at home to help reduce tension and irritation in the sciatic nerve. With regular practice and the guidance of a professional, you can manage your sciatica pain conservatively and get back to living your life to the fullest.