Sciatica is a common diagnosis that is given to many patients but what is it really? Sciatica is a generalised diagnosis which names of a set of symptoms that include low back and leg pain, pins and needle, weakness or numbness in legs or feet. It does not tell anyone what is causing the problem, it only labels the symptoms. Our job, at The Muscle Joint, is to look deeper to find the real cause of you sciatic symptoms.
CAUSES: There are many conditions that cause “sciatica” symptoms that range from a simple muscle spasm to disc bulge/herniation. These can cause irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve which in turn causes pain and /or sensation changes in back or leg.
Causes include disc bulges, spinal bone spurs, buttock muscle tightness, decreased disc height causing the gap where the nerve comes out of the spine to become smaller, and piriformis syndrome. In very rare cases tumors and infections can cause sciatic symptoms
Other conditions that can mimic sciatic symptoms muscular trigger points, referred pain from spinal or sacroiliac joint (SIJ). Furthermore you can have more than one of these conditions causing your symptoms.
Pregnancy, being overweight, smoking and aging increase the risk of developing “sciatica” symptoms.
The sciatic nerve is made up of lumbar 4 and 5 spinal nerves and sacral 1,2 and 3 nerves. These can be compressed as they come out of spine by a disc bulge, inflammation or a bony spur. Disc problems are a common cause of sciatic symptoms. Traumatic injuries can result a rupture or tear of the disc and thus cause the internal contents of the disc to spill out into surrounding areas. As you age discs slowly degenerate causing a decrease in the space where the nerve exits the spine. This can cause rubbing or compression of the nerve. They can also can be compressed or irritated by tight muscles that cause insufficient sliding of the nerve when moving. Muscles that tighten or are strained can develop pockets of inflammation that cause a referred pain that doesn’t irritate the sciatic nerve at all. The joints of the spine and the sacroiliac joint have a nerve supply. When these joints get compressed inflammation can build up and stimulate the pain response of a nerve and cause a referred pain and/ or pins and needles into buttocks, leg or feet. Many of these conditions can be treated easily with a hands on approach at The Muscle Joint.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe. If symptoms are accompanied by bowel or bladde
r changes, and or numbness in the genital area call an ambulance immediately.This indicates severe nerve blockage that needs to be dealt with asap.
At The Muscle Joint, our highly skilled practitioners will conduct a full spinal, pelvic and lower limb to find the cause of your sciatic symptoms and give you a specific diagnosis. They will then treat you with a hands on approach that may include spinal or sacral manipulation, muscular stretching and release, fascial release to fully relieve your symptoms.
Take home advice for “sciatica”
Visit an Osteopath, Chiropractor, Physiotherapist, or Acupuncturist to find the real cause of your symptoms.
put a tennis ball with pressure into the tender points in your buttock muscles
ice the spine
use heat for muscles
keep moving!..bed rest is a myth. Movement helps the body deal with inflammation
if you have any bowel or bladder changes, numbness in your genital area, along with your other symptoms call an ambulance immediately.