Help for sciatica pain is certainly relevant. With about 20% of folk having it at least once in a lifetime, and 5% of people having an attack of sciatica every year, sciatica cures abound. None work all the time.
For the purist:
But internet users like to google "sciatica pain" so sciatica pain it is. The consumer is always right!
There are two principle causes of sciatica:
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body; it's as thick as your finger and runs from the lower back to the foot.
Before thinking about how to cure sciatica you should understand first what it is, otherwise, if you don't do the right exercises, the miserable affliction will start all over again next week.
There are other rare sources such as tumors, but they really are like hen's teeth. If you have loss of bladder control, weight loss, cancer elsewhere, well, yes, the other causes of sciatica leg pain must be considered.
The sciatic nerve is made up primarily of three nerve roots located at the very bottom of the spine: primarily the so called lumbar 4, lumbar 5 and sacral 1 roots. They travel down the spine in what is called the horse's tail and then escape via a foramen.
This foramen, it's full name is an inter vertebral foramen, is a narrow tunnel between the vertebrae which enables the nerve root to escape from the spinal canal on it's way to the leg.
On each side of the spine a "intervertebral foramen" or IVF, or just "foramen" is located at each spinal level, strategically and vulnerably placed right between a facet joint and the disc joint. Both can be causes of sciatica by interfering with the nerve roots.
Both the facets and the vertebral end plates are made of hyaline cartilage, one of the tissues in the body that has no blood supply. They are supplied with nutrients and oxygen, and waste products removed, by fluid in and around the joints. HYALINE CARTILAGE ... If either the disc of the facet joints are fixated, the synovial fluids in the joints are not adequately refreshed causing a build up of waste products. This toxic soup of wastes is now known to be one of the causes of sciatica.
A bulging or slipped disc can physically press on the nerve root
causing sciatica symptoms - pain, tingling, numbness and weakness in the
leg. Very occasionally it can also cause bladder problems.
SLIPPED DISC SYMPTOMS Case File ...
A chronically subluxated facet joint is starved of oxygen and nutrients. Experiments on white mice show that degeneration of the hyaline cartilage (scientists call it Immobilisation Arthritis) sets in within 13 hours. Gradually the shape of the facet changes, becoming large and flattened and allowing the vertebra to subluxate forwards (called an "antero-lysthesis") which can pinch the nerve root located just forward of the facet. Soft tissue cysts complicate the issue. Immobilisation Arthritis ...
One's first thought should be of prevention before sciatica cures. From Chiropractic Tips you can get some very basic lumbar exercises. We all sit too much, our core muscles become weak and a few simple exercises done faithfully every day will do wonders for sciatica back pain treatment. Think Immobilisation arthritis prevention and sciatica stretches before sciatica nerve treatment!
How to cure sciatica? Frankly, a "cure" doesn't exist. Once you've had a bad attack of sciatica, no matter what help for sciatic pain you seek, it will remain a vulnerable part of your body. Exercise, exercise, exercise... is your best bet. And accept that lifting pianos and the like is not for you.
Your chiropractor will start with a posture examination. Do you have the sign of Pisa - look like a question mark? Do you have a short leg, what is known in Chiropractic jargon as a Leg Length Inequality? LEG LENGTH INEQUALITY ...
Next your chiropractor will test your ranges of motion. Does bending forwards hurt? Most important, does bending increase the pain or cause a tight feeling in the leg? If so, you certainly need help for sciatica pain. If bending backwards, or to the side causes pain to radiate down your leg then you may have a condition called Lumbar stenosis. It too responds well usually to Chiropractic. Here one of our monthly newsletters. Have you signed up yet? CHIROPRACTIC HELP Lumbar Stenosis ...
Help for sciatica pain
Next your Chiropractor will be looking for "hard neurological signs". Can you stand on your heel, raising your big toe, can you go up and down several times on your toes, taking your full weight on one foot? Then the reflexes and tests for numbness or increased sensation in the skin. It's all quite involved and gives precise information as to which nerve root is affected. Sometimes it can be more than one level causing considerable scratching of the head! That's where a MR scan is so useful.
Your Chiropractor will do a series of orthopaedic tests to help in making a diagnosis before starting help for sciatic pain. The purpose of these tests is to stress the affected tissue, and they may cause some pain, and occasionally "after pain". The artful examination looks to make a diagnosis without actually aggravating the condition. For example the Slump test places increasing sciatic nerve stretches to determine whether the nerve is just irritated, or actually pinched. SLUMP TEST FOR SCIATICA ...
Help for sciatica pain
Motion palpation, a technique developed by Belgian chiropractor Henri Gillet, is an important part of the chiropractic examination.
Your chiropractor will carefully examine your spine and pelvis looking for fixated joints. It's a difficult procedure; more of an art than a science perhaps, and requires a long time to perfect. After nearly thirty five years I'm still learning.
It's an absolutely vital part of my protocol, because my sciatica back pain treatment is based on these motion palpation findings.
Why is that, you may well ask? Let's consider the lumbo sacral disc at the base of the spine. Traditionally, it's considered this bottom most joint will pinch the first sacral nerve root. That's because the herniation is usually central.
However if the disc extrudes laterally into the foramen, then it will pinch the nerve root above, the fifth lumbar, and confuse the examining doctor; the pain will radiate to the big toe area.
If you can't raise your big toe then he or she is likely to think it's not the bottom most disc, but one higher.
If he's luckily enough to have a scan then all is revealed. However this is not normally the case; MRIs are very expensive. It's motion palpation that helps your chiropractor decide which level he should be adjusting. Adjust the wrong vertebra and it just won't get better.
Help for sciatica pain
Here is where there is considerable variation depending on your condition, and your Chiropractor's preferred treatment protocol. One chiropractor might prefer using a Thompson drop treatment (my first choice), another frank manipulation, an activator, SOT pelvic blocks, McManus traction... all of these have their place, one perhaps more suited to your condition that another.
Lower back exercises are vital to properly rehabilitate the injured joint, and strengthen the core muscles; they also help prevent you from joining that group of five percent who will have an episode every year and eventually progress to surgery.
In all honesty, I cannot guarantee it and, in fact, I think it's unlikely that lower back exercises can fix a sciatica. But they will do wonders to prevent the next bout of pain once your chiropractor has reduced the pressure on the nerve. There's no harm in trying them to see if you can get relief, though; perhaps for a maximum of a week or two.
Then, say to yourself, in all honesty, is this improving? If not, well, you know what to do. It's time to get help for sciatica pain.
Rule of thumb:
In short, exercise is more for preventing the next episode than curing you of this one. I am particularly in doubt about the merits of sciatica stretches; if the nerve is tethered and you stretch it, further damage is likely.
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I receive many questions about Chiropractic. It might be help with a spinal condition, but it might also be from a person who can't walk after a hip operation, or some such thing.
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Do understand that lower back pain is extremely complex, so I can only give general guidelines. There's no substitute for a careful thorough chiropractic examination.
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