There are some common mistakes that you might be making that can cause sciatica. In this article I will cover 3 of the most common sciatica causes.
First what is sciatica? Sciatia is a description of pain that is in the vicinity of the buttock, back of the thigh and calf. It can occur with or without back pain. It can run from the lower back down past the buttock to the foot. Or it can just be in the buttock, or just in the back of the thigh or calf or just in the foot. Or any combination of these. It can be on one side or both. Sciatica happens when there is irritation of the sciatic nerve by any number of causes such as:
1. a spinal disc bulge in the lower back
2. arthritis spurs in the lower back vertebrae hitting one or more of the spinal nerves that combine to make up the sciatic nerve
3. direct trauma to the buttock that hits the sciatic nerve
4. a disease such as diabetes that can affect the sciatic nerve
Understanding the 3 most common causes of sciatica gives you the ability to help yourself and avoid pain.
- Sitting on a wallet in your back pocket: can put pressure directly over the area of the sciatic nerve and irritate it. Sitting on a wallet in your pocket can also cause your pelvis to be unlevel. This stresses the lower spine and pelvis muscles and ligaments which over time can lead to sciatic irritation and pain. Not sitting on your wallet is one of the simplest ways to avoid sciatica.
- Walking in shoes with run down heels or having flat feet will cause rotational stress from your feet to travel all the way up to your lower back. The repetitive stress of that extra rotation movement over time can stress two areas that can contribute to sciatica. One is the piriformis muscle in the buttock. The sciatic nerve travels under the piriformis. If that muscle tightens or spasms due to postural imbalances, it compresses the sciatic nerve thus causing the sciatica. If the rotational movement goes on long enough over months or years, it can also cause stress on the lower back discs and joints causing them to wear out, or bulge which can put pressure on the roots of the sciatic nerve, thus causing sciatica. So: replace your heels or shoes if the heels become worn. If you are not sure whether your feet are involved we can take a look and let you know your options, because your feet may not even hurt.
- Not getting your chiropractic care before problems progress to bad sciatica. Getting care before symptoms are severe is a lot easier and cheaper than waiting until a condition is advanced. We start by doing an exam to determine the cause of the sciatic pain. Causes can range from something as simple as a trigger point in the buttock mimicking sciatic pain to as severe as bulging discs. There are simple chiropractic tests that we take you through in the office to look for the cause of your sciatica. We check for fallen arches which may be causing mechanical stress on the structures that affect the sciatic nerve. We check the muscles that may be involved as well as the joints. And we use orthopedic tests that can indicate if there is a disc involved. There may even be a combination of disc, joint or muscle and postural problems contributing to the pains.
Treatment is a combination of:
- freeing up joints that are not moving properly with chiropractic adjustments
- easing arthritic stiffness or disc inflammation,
- easing muscle tightness,
- stretches for tight muscles,
- postural exercises to correct imbalances that can lead to the sciatic problem recurring.
So if you are suffering sciatic pain, why suffer any longer? Give us a call at 978-535-6155 to schedule a visit while you are thinking of it.