The Mystery of Sciatica & Back Pain
What is Sciatica?
You must have heard of the dreadful sciatica pain, anything from a little twinge to an excruciating sharp pain.
What do you think it is? Pain at the front of the leg? In the groin ? Pins and needles in the arms ?
Sciatica is a term used to describe (and often diagnose) pain at/in the leg from the buttock down (sometimes all the way down to your foot) but it is not a diagnosis.
That means that if you’ve been told you have got sciatica (and let’s imagine it’s actually sciatica, and not something else as many different nerves can be impinged) you now need to find out what is causing it.
Where does the name come from?
The term sciatica comes from the sciatic nerve (it’s the biggest one of your body, as thick as your thumb) that can get pinched or inflamed.
However, knowing that you have got sciatica does not tell you the reason why this has been triggered and especially how to get rid of it.
There are many reasons why you could end up with sciatica. It is quite common to get back pain as well as leg pain when you have been diagnosed with sciatica.
It could be due to:
– Muscle trauma e.g. spasm, strain, overuse
– Pelvic dysfunction like sacro-iliac joint restriction or SPD (Pelvic Pain)
– Facet joint irritation, dysfunctions
– Postural imbalance, leg length discrepancies
– Disc injuries like inflammation, bulge or prolapse
– Degenerative changes – wear and tear
– Systemic disease or space occupying lesion i.e. tumour
– Pregnancy (a baby pressing on it)
All of these reasons are different and therefore need a specific type of treatment.
So it might be wise (before looking on the internet), or just trying different types of exercises to seek expert advice. Book an appointment in an Osteopathic clinic so the professionally qualified Osteopath can examine and diagnose what is actually causing your pain, give you appropriate and personal treatment advice and an exercise program, all adapted to your own personal problem.
The 3 commonest reasons for Low Back Pain we see in Clinic:-
Sacroiliac joint pain is very common but often overlooked and consequently not well treated. The Sacroiliac joint is a big joint and one of the most stable of your body, between the Sacrum Ilium bones. There are two of them, one on each side. They do not move a great amount but sometimes they get stuck or overstrained and this can lead to severe pain and also to the feeling of sciatica.
Diagnosing sacroiliac dysfunction correctly can be problematic as there are lots of structures in the back that can cause similar pain.
Things like getting out of the car or out of bed will be painful, sitting can be quite uncomfortable and sometimes you cannot even put all of your weight on your leg or bend to the side because it compresses the joint even more! But Sacroiliac dysfunctions usually respond well to Osteopathic treatment.
Another common reason to get back pain is facet joint dysfunction. The facets joints are little joints between each vertebra. Sometimes if you over twist or use your back in a wrong way they can get irritated or sprained.
There are many muscles and ligaments in your low back and they can get strained when you overuse them, do a sudden movement or twist quickly. Muscle and ligament injuries often come along with facets dysfunctions and sometimes one can cause the other.
You will get a full assessment of your back before any treatment so we ensure you are safe to treat and do not need any further investigations.
The sooner the treatment begins the better, as the body will try to compensate as soon as it can, in order to find a more comfortable position.
Those are some of the commonest complains we tend to see on a daily basis in clinic for low back pain but there are many more so feel free to ask us if you have any enquiries. We are always happy to help.
I hope that back pain and sciatica makes a bit more sense to you now.
If you ever experience it, do not wait for it to reach the agony stage, get some treatment as soon as possible. Feel free to share this article with your friends so they do not stay in pain either.