Many people suffering back, buttock or leg pain have been told that they have ‘sciatica’. But there is a little secret about sciatica that most people do not know. The secret? It is only true sciatica if the sciatic nerve is causing the pain. Not all pain in the lower back, buttock or leg is due to a problem with the sciatic nerve. Why is this distinction important? Because the treatments to relieve the symptoms are different depending on what is causing the symptom.
You have a better chance of effective treatment from a doctor who knows the difference between true sciatica and other conditions that can give you pain in the buttock or thigh such as:
1. Sacroiliac dysfunction: a stuck sacroiliac joint can cause pain into the low back and buttock area. Your hips hook onto your spine at the sacroiliac joint. Irritation of the sacroiliac joint can also refer pain down the back or side of your thigh to your knee. A sacroiliac problem can also send pain around the side of the hip to the groin area. Proper movement of the sacroiliac joint needs to be restored. Then the cause of the lost movement needs to be fixed for you to not have pain over and over again.
2. Piriformis syndrome: The piriformis muscle lies very deep in your buttock underneath your gluteus maximus muscle. The piriformis muscle may hurt on its own causing buttock pain. It can refer pain down your leg as well. And it can cause leg pain by putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. Proper treatment requires knowledge of this muscle’s location and it’s function. We treat the piriformis muscle in our office with hands on muscle techniques and adjustment of the stuck joints. We also sometimes treat the piriformis with ultrasound as well as with special exercises.
3. Lumbar spinal joint dysfunction and disc involvement: Stuck lumbar spinal joints can cause low back pain and buttock and thigh pains. A joint stuck long enough can cause swelling of the disc. Stuck joints along with swollen discs cause additional pain and sometimes even weakness of leg muscles. This problem requires manipulation to free up the stuck joints. Special exercises can then strengthen the stabilization muscles to avoid irritating the lumbar discs. With the correct treatment very few people who have disc problems require surgery.
Good treatment requires knowing what structures are causing the pain in your back, buttock or leg. Here at Blomerth Chiropractic we examine our patients because that allows us to develop a better idea of what is causing the pain. Thirty-five years of experience has taught us where to look and how to treat people so that they feel better as quickly as possible. And our exercises and nutritional recommendations help ensure you have greater stability and health so your painful symptoms do not come back so easily.