Contrary to popular misconception, sciatica isn't a physical condition. It's actually a set of symptoms describing radiating pain which travels down from a pinched or irritated sciatic nerve.
Pain symptoms from sciatica, usually caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve, can vary significantly from one person to the next. Usually starting in the lower back, sciatic pain can radiate through the pelvis, buttocks and down the back of the leg. Usually symptoms are only felt on one side of the body.
Depending on the source of trouble, sciatic pain may be felt in the foot or even all the way to the toes. Sciatic nerve pain intensity can range from minor to severe, causing burning or aching sensations.
Sciatica also causes tingling, numbness or weakness in the affected areas in some cases. Increased pain or numbness is common while sitting down.
Relief from sciatic nerve pain begins with an understanding of the condition which caused the pain in the first place. In each condition, either the sciatic nerve itself or one of the five nerve roots leading to it become compressed or irritated.
The most common conditions associated with sciatica include a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, piriformis syndrome and spinal trauma.
Herniated discs in the lumbar region may cause sciatic nerve pain by compressing one of the sciatic nerve roots when pressure on the spinal disc causes it to bulge or rupture. Spinal disc herniation is one of the most common causes of sciatica.
Spinal stenosis is a condition where the spinal canal space becomes constricted due to inflammation, bone spurs, or other causes. When this occurs in the lower back, nerve roots associated with the sciatic nerve may get pinched causing sciatic nerve pain.
Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one vertebra slides across another during certain activities instead of maintaining its proper position. Spondylolisthesis can irritate or place painful pressure on sciatic nerve roots.
Piriformis syndrome occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated by the piriformis muscle. About 15% of people have their sciatic nerve running through the piriformis muscle, leaving them predisposed to sciatic pain.
Spinal trauma, such as impact from a car accident, can damage the spine or cause the vertebrae to become misaligned from each other. This misalignment can pinch or rub against and irritate the sciatic nerve or related nerve roots.
Treatments for sciatic pain relief commonly include some combination of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen, heat treatments, ultrasound, therapeutic exercises, and cortisone injections.
These may provide pain relief for the symptoms of sciatica, but they won't fix the underlying problem. Even if the sciatica pain goes away on its own, it's likely to recur unless the condition that originally caused it is resolved.
While NSAIDs and other traditional treatment methods for sciatica pain relief may help temporarily, permanent sciatic pain relief is possible by addressing the root cause. Depending on what the source of your sciatica is, one of the following therapies may provide long-term relief:
Inversion therapy is excellent for relieving compression pressure, especially from herniated discs. Daily use of an inversion table will allow you to gradually incline your body head-down until you can remain upside down for 5-15 minutes twice daily.
While upside down, gravity gently pulls your spine in the opposite direction allowing the vertebrae to relax enough to allow injured spinal discs to recover their proper shape. Increased circulation also helps herniated discs to receive the necessary blood supply and oxygen to heal more quickly.
Muscle balance therapy addresses the problem of postural dysfunctions caused by muscle groups that pull unevenly against your spine and other bones. This is a great tool to recover from muscle strain lower back pain too.
Trigger point therapy, often used in conjunction with muscle balance therapy, relieves tiny contraction knots in muscles that can lead to “referred” pain – where you feel pain at a different location than the source. Trigger point therapy may just lead to relief from those tricky pains that seem to have no other solution.
Finally, remember that sciatic nerve pain is only a symptom of an underlying condition. Getting long-term sciatic nerve pain relief requires the resolution of the problem causing the pain. Don't be fooled into equating "feels better" with "fixed the problem." Find a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner to accurately diagnose your condition and recommend the best treatment methods. Read more about Sciatic Pain Relief...
50 Years of Back Pain Gone in Just Days!
Jerry Talisman had suffered from chronic back pain on and off for over 50 years. Like most people, he had tried it all... chiropractors, physical therapy, he even overdosed on tylenol but nothing gave him lasting relief until he discovered muscle balance therapy.
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