OUCH!! Is that my Sciatica!?

March 06, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

2013-09-22-LUIS (12)2013-09-22-LUIS (12)
Sciatica


This is a term used to define pain or discomfort in to the gluteal and or legs. This term is used loosely like when we use the word “headache”. We all know there are many reasons for headaches; Sinus, vision, migraine neck pain and TMJ dysfunction are all causes of headaches. So, we use the term “sciatica” in the same manner. Sciatica can be in both or only one leg at a time. Sciatica (leg/gluteal pain) is usually created by any of the following:


1. Disc Herniation, bulges and prolapse.
2. Piriformis muscle spasm (piriformis syndrome).
3. Central canal or foraminal stenosis (tightening of the spinal canal).
4. Lumbar disc degeneration.
5. Facet syndrome.
6. Lumbar subluxation.

Note: It’s often that sciatica will also be accompanied by lumbar paraspinals spasms which can make the condition worse. It’s also noteworthy that you can have some of these conditions without any back pain.

How is it diagnosed?

It’s important to start with a history of the condition and If you have had previous bouts of sciatica and what caused it. X-rays can also be helpful to see what you spine looks like. Do you have degeneration or can a small spinal canal be seen? Next you would need an examination to help delineate what structures that may be creating the pain. Is the sciatica coming from the nerve roots next to your spine or are the symptoms coming from the lower sciatic nerve?


A competent chiropractor, neurologist or spinal orthopedist are the specialist you should seek this information from. Lastly, an MRI would be helpful to better view the intervertebral discs (this is usually done at a last resort).

What can you do to relieve sciatica? It’s paramount that you find the cause before you can effectively treat it. As you have read, there are many possible causes which each require different approaches to treatment. However, you can help relive the “symptoms” of sciatica at home by eliminating the things that aggravate it. Usually long periods of sitting (computer chairs, cars) will aggravate the condition so you will want to stay flat on a supportive surface and reduce sitting. Lifting, bending and twisting are also aggravators of sciatica. Using moist hot packs, spa and stretching protocols can be effective is decreasing the pain. There are certain medications that can help but you should understand that this is usually numbing the pain rather than eliminating the cause.


Is exercise helpful? Exercise most often will aggravate sciatica but again, it depends on what is actually creating the sciatica. A rule of thumb is that anything that makes is worse, is not recommended. Exercise protocols are usually given once the condition is diagnosed, treated and eliminated. We need to understand that there is usually a weakness or overuse that created the problem in the first place so exercise protocols are important when you want to keep the condition from returning.

Closing: The big problem is when you are on a devoted exercise routine and you are scared to stop exercising for fear of loosing what you have gained. All I can say is that If the condition hasn’t gone away on its own, and exercise makes it worse, you could be decreasing the possibility or getting rid of the cause (especially if a lumbar disc is involved). This type of injury puts you at risk of never being able to exercise at the previous intensity.

I treat cases that involve sciatica on athletes and on a daily basis with many different protocols. The success rate depends on how quickly the patient gets in my clinic. After treatment many of them wished they had got in for treatment earlier so they could have resumed their workouts earlier. If I can be of any help, please feel free to schedule a consultation with me and I will do whatever I can to help. If I can’t help, I will gladly help you find someone who can.

Best Regards-

David Sommer Sports ChiropractorDavid Sommer Sports Chiropractor David A. Sommer, DC, CSCS, RSMT, CSMT
Sommer Sports Chiropractic
Sports Concussion Clinic

Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist

Registered Sports Medicine Therapist

Certified Sports Medicine Trainer

Pro-Sport Certified Physician

 

 


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