Sciatica or Sciatic Pain is a common condition that many middle age and elderly citizens suffer from. Those suffering from this condition experience sharp burning pains through or down their leg.
Although many people may believe this pain originates from their hips, it actually occurs when the sciatic nerve that runs through the tailbone and down the back of the legs is compressed by a herniated disc or bone spur.
The pain can be worse if you also suffer from muscle spasms or misaligned disks, which increase pressure in the back. We can treat this condition directly without surgery or prescription medications.
The sciatic nerves are the two longest single nerves in the human body. They begin in the lower part of your spine, run down through your hips and rear-end, and then exit into the backs of your thighs. Inflammation of this nerve, called sciatica, is very painful.
Those suffering from this condition describe sharp burning pains through or down their leg, sometimes all the way into the feet and toes. “Sciatica” is not actually a medical diagnosis, but a description of a collection of symptoms that come along with the compression of the sciatic nerve.
If you’re experiencing sciatica type symptoms, it’s very important that you see a physical medicine doctor to find out what part of the sciatic nerve is being compressed – and most importantly – by what. Conventional physicians generally prefer prescribing pain medications and will sometimes recommend stretching and exercising. It isn’t until the pain has become chronic that many doctors start to take notice.
Sciatica can be caused by many conditions like:
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Piriformis syndrome (a spasming muscle at the bottom of your “bottom”)
- Spondylolisthesis (slipped disc)
- Herniated disc
- Inflammatory issues (Arthritis)
Many of these conditions may sound frightening. It’s important to remember that every single one of them is caused by something. If you remove the cause – which is almost always something in how your spine, hips, and all your support muscles are working together – the pain goes away and the condition resolves.
One very important fact about the body, is that we have two basic types of muscles – phasic muscles, and postural muscles. Maybe you’ve heard them called fast twitch and slow twitch muscles. Phasic muscles are our big movers, like biceps or quadriceps (thighs). These muscles are made to deliver short bursts of energy followed with periods of rest. Postural muscles, on the other hand, are good at holding our body in fixed positions. So, your phasic muscles move you into position, and your postural muscles then take over to hold you there. As their name implies, postural muscles are responsible for our posture.
When postural muscles become weak because of damage or misuse, your posture and appearance is affected, but the real issue is internal. The discs in between your vertebrae are shock absorbers. They’re a little like a jelly donut- the outside is tough, and the inside is very soft, spongy, and fluid filled. If the support muscles in your back don’t do their job, these discs become squished and dehydrated. Your vertebrae start to touch and rub together. Soon, the issues mentioned above start to happen. You now have two paths available. Conventional medicine that relies heavily on medication and surgery, or the Physical Medicine approach that focuses on rehabilitation and healing by utilizing the safest, most effective treatments from multidisciplinary physicians.
- As mentioned before, step one is to find out which part or parts of the sciatic nerve are being compressed. We do this by paying close attention to your description of what you’re feeling, and then using digital x-ray to look for areas where the nerve is pinched that you might not be feeling. We also do orthopedic testing, gait analysis, and functional testing to provide a complete picture.
- Step two is to have our team sit down together and come up with a plan. Our practice combines the talents of multiple healthcare approaches. Working together, they’ll find the best way to get you out of pain, and to restore the function that you’ve lost.
- The final step is to begin treatment. We have a wide array of tools to choose from, and we’ll always make sure you know exactly what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. During your course of treatment with us, we’ll be closely monitoring your progress. Our physicians will be watching closely to see what works best for you. Getting better is a journey, and we’ll be with you every step of the way.