sciatica and walking symptoms - BACK PAIN: THE EPIDEMIC
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BACK PAIN: THE EPIDEMIC

Back pain is a major problem these days for people all over the western world. It has been estimated that at any one time 20% of the population suffer from lower back pain and that doesn't take into account all the other forms like sciatica, upper back pain, mid back pain and neck pain. It is a huge interruption in a sufferers day to day life and costs the world billions of dollars in productivity.


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McKenzie practitioners use the word "centralization" when the pain and other symptoms are relieved in the areas the greates distance away from the spine. To give an example, in a person with sciatica all the way down the leg to the foot, centralization might occur in which the pain left the foot and lower leg and then only extended down to the knee. Or, if sciatica symptoms started out going as far as the knee, centralization would be if the symptoms left the thigh and only went as far as the hip area.

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Would you love to be like so many others and move around pain free? Being able to do everything you wish to do, not restricted as sciatica rules your life. Just imagine what you could do again.

For example, while commonly recommended to people with sciatica, exercises such as hamstring stretches and the yoga position, "downward facing dog" can be beneficial as part of managing one's condition once the pain is reduced, these exercises can place tension on the sciatic nerve and aggravate an already inflamed and sensitive condition. In general, any exercise that causes pain to increase in the leg and/or extend further down the leg should be completely avoided during the acute phase of sciatica.

The first mistake is rushing into a surgery. Although the vast majority of surgeons are not anxious to perform surgery on sciatica cases, there are a few who do recommend surgical treatment right from the start, and without even attempting any other type of treatment. Sciatica resolves in approximately 80% of cases without surgery. Even when surgery is successful initially, the development of scar tissue and abnormal mechanical stresses on the spine adjacent to the surgery often lead to future problems. Given that low back spine surgery overall has about a 50% long-term success rate and people treated surgically often wind up worse than they were prior to surgery, it should be reserved as a treatment of last resort.

The third mistake people, including doctors, often make regarding sciatica is to view it as a condition that can be "cured". Because most people continue to engage in the activities that caused the underlying disc problems to develop that produced sciatica in the first place, the vast majority of sciatica sufferers will experience repeated episodes, usually becoming more severe and more frequent over time. This is due to the fact that the disc issues that initially produce the sciatica tend to grow worse over time if they are not managed appropriately. Once again, it is not safe to assume that a resolution of symptoms means that the problem has gone away. In fact, what happens in many cases is that the spine and discs gradually degenerate over time, making the person more and more susceptible to sciatica episodes. Eventually, the degeneration can become so severe that there really is no effective treatment, and many people are left with chronic, debilitating pain.

Miracle Tip 2: Stretch - the lower back muscles and buttock muscles tighten with sciatica. The Piriformis if tight can cause sciatica, but the muscles surrounding the area will also tighten when pain is present. A gentle stretch to each muscle group helps to remove tension form the area and allow your sciatica to heal faster.

Miracle Tip 6: Sleep On It - sleep is very restorative. Healing speeds up and damage is repaired quicker. If you find your sciatica is preventing you sleeping then follow the advice of tips 8 and 10.

Sciatica is one type of back pain affecting a large number of people these days. It is characterized by pain in the hip and buttock region and sometime includes referred pain down the leg. This can go down one or both legs into the thigh, calf, ankle and foot. Stretching is often prescribed for back pain and sciatica but rarely provides any lasting relief .

Fortunately, in most cases, sciatica can be managed effectively simply through an awareness of potentially damaging activities and positions and through simple exercises one can do at home. Long-term pain and disability are avoidable, if one makes the necessary effort to perform the necessary exercise regimen on a regular schedule and to avoid movements, activities, and postions that can be damaging to the discs of the spine, such as incorrect bending and lifting, and poor posture (especially sitting posture). Long-term problems can be avoided by putting forth just a small amount of effort to manage sciatica on an ongoing basis over time.

Massage - Massage a common choice for people trying to get relief from back pain. It also acts as great stress reliever. But if you have acute back pain, do consult a skilled back pain therapist before going for a massage.

Dr Graeme Teague is an expert in the structural field, and has been in practice since 1991. His newly launched web site The Back Pain Advisor - http://www.back-pain-advisor.com - strives to give you valuable and expert advice, tips and information on your back pain issues.

Eat Healthy - Vitamins and minerals are important for your overall health. So, try to eat as much healthy food as possible to help get rid of stress in your body and get relief from back pain.

The exception to the rule of considering surgery as a last resort is in the rare case of severe neurological compromise known as "cauda equina syndrome", which may be indicated by a loss of bowel and/or bladder control, sudden severe weakness in one or both legs, and/or "saddle anaesthesia" (a loss of sensation in the lower buttocks and inner thighs). Except in the rare instance of cauda equina syndrome though, it is generally better to avoid surgery if possible.

Miracle Tip 3: Ice It - in the first 48 hours use ice. Ice helps to remove pain and any inflammation. Place ice on the area for 10 minutes only, then rest for 10 minutes and then repeat so that you have 3 sessions of ice on the area. Do this every few hours for the first day and then 3-4 times the next day. In this time most sciatica should ease and settle.

After 48 hours alternate ice with heat, finishing with 10 minutes of heat. Sciatica should settle by itself within a few days, if not the final tips are most important.

Miracle Tip 9: Massage - gentle massage of the tight muscles will also ease tension. You can do this at home, ask your partner to gently rub the area and even use heat as a way to help the muscles relax. However, this may not be best in the first few days. Massage can cause more inflammation as will heat, so stretching is better in the first 48 hours, then after that use massage and heat. If you know a good massage therapist, then seek their advice as they will know what level of massage you need.

During the acute phase of sciatica pain, McKenzie exercises provide one of the best and safest treatment approaches available - more effective than medication and epidural steroid injections in many people. Though often associated with spinal extension and mistakenly called the "McKenzie Extension Exercises", McKenzie method may involve any number of spinal positions/movements. The whole point of the McKenzie method is to evaluate different positions/exercises to find what best produces "centralization" of symptoms.

A position or exercise that results in symptom centralization is one that will be beneficial, even in situations where symptoms increase for a time in areas closer to the spine. For example, if you had sciatica and low back pain and tried one of of the McKenzie exercises and the sciatica completely went away but the back pain got worse, the exercise would still be considered beneficial and it would be recommended to continue using it. In the long run, a sciatica exercise that produces centralization will usually eventually result in improvement in all symptoms, even if more central (closer to the spine) symptoms get worse at first.

 
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The second mistake sciatica sufferers often make is returning to normal activities too quickly once symptoms improve. The vast majority of true sciatica cases are due to bulging or herniation of one or more discs in the lumbar spine, and the inflammation that typically is associated with such disc problems. In many cases, slight improvements in inflammation can result in dramatic symptom improvement. Many sciatica victims mistakenly believe they are back to normal as soon as they feel better, but the reality is that the bulging/herniated disc is far from fully healed, and too much exertion too soon can easily trigger a recurrence of symptoms - sometimes even more severe than they were to begin with. Even professional physical therapists sometimes make the mistake of pushing a patient to do too much too soon, with the result being a return or increase in sciatica symptoms.

To stretch the Piriformis (which helps directly with your sciatica) lie on your back and gently pull your knee towards your opposite shoulder. Hold this as you feel a tightness not pain, hold for 6 seconds, drop your leg down and repeat 5 times. This will help ease tension quickly. For the best stretches and the best ways to stretch this area just visit back stretches

Miracle Tip 8: Pain Relief - if you need pain relief use it, whether it is an aspirin or a topical analgesic, if it eases pain then use it. Especially if it helps you sleep or do the activities you can't avoid in your day. Over use or continued use of pain relief is not good. If pain persists seek help! But if pain is less you heal faster, so don't think it is macho or strong to avoid it, if you need it use it.

Some natural steps for back pain relief are: Lose Weight - Try to stay slim. If you have excess weight on your upper body, it will overload on your back. Practicing yoga or tai chi are natural ways of back pain treatment that can also assist with weight loss.

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Sciatica exercises are an important part of both short and long-term treatment, but it is critical to choose the right exercises. Even commonly-recommended exercises for sciatica may not be indicated during times of severe acute symptoms, and some exercises may only make things worse.

About the Author:

Dr. George Best has been treating sciatica patients for over 15 years. For a free e-book on sciatica exercises and to access his informational online video series on sciatica and the treatment options for it, visit his website on sciatica self care.

Are you one of the countless thousands of adults with sciatica? Do you wake up in the morning with back pain that ravels down your leg? Are there activities that make you sweat, as your sciatica gives you that stab in the buttocks?

Miracle Tip 7: Drink More - water I mean not booze. Muscles, joints and inflammation all respond well to fluid levels. If you are hydrated more then you heal faster. If you are like me and don't like water as a drink, then don't worry. Tea, juice, milk and even fruit and vegetables are now considered as part of your water intake. So increase this volume or squeeze a lemon into your water to add taste if this helps.

Did you know there are 10 miracle tips that can help you to remove your sciatica and make life enjoyable once again? Here they are... Miracle Tip 1: Rest - exercise is great at keeping you fit and strong, but once sciatica occurs it pays to ease up or stop exercising for now. The Piriformis muscle which is a common cause of sciatica, can get irritated with exercise that jars your body. So ease up on running, tennis, basketball, soccer and other explosive activity sports. Walking, swimming and other low impact sport is still good.

There are various back pain relief measures both natural and pharmaceutical available. Chronic and severe back pain may require temporary medication to allow the acute back pain to settle. However if you take a natural healing approach along with the medication, you should get a better longer lasting result.

Miracle Tip 10: Help! - Yes if pain persists seek help. Whether it is a Chiropractor, Medical Doctor, Osteopath or Physical Therapist; seek help if pain persists. The earlier you seek treatment the quicker your sciatica will heal. To help your self you can use many safe and effective techniques that ease your sciatica quickly and prevent it returning. Best of all using self help techniques; you can save time and money and use these as soon as your sciatica happens rather than waiting to see if it doesn't disappear.

Back pain is caused by numerous reasons, primarily muscle imbalances from injury, diet, obesity, posture, exercise and more. Back pain treatments vary depending on the diagnosis of your pain and can vary from a passive mobilization, to drugs all the way to surgery .

Self help techniques can be used with all back pain as soon as it occurs. The quicker you help your self the quicker sciatica and back pain in general will disappear once and for all.

Miracle Tip 4: Posture - as most of you will sit in your job, sitting straight is important. Try supporting your lower back with a cushion or Lumbar Roll to ease pressure. Avoid sitting in chairs or couches that allow you to slouch. It may feel comfortable while sitting there, but getting out of the chair can cause more damage as you strain to get out. Posture is important, but the best advise is ...

Because of pain and a lack of understanding of their condition, sciatica sufferers may make some costly long-term mistakes when it comes to handling their problem.

There are certain other techniques like yoga, exercise, massage acupuncture and chiropractic that prove to be effective back pain treatments for some sufferers. Others prefer to take medication prescribed by their doctor to lessen the irritation of back pain but they are not good for health. Adopting the natural approach to get back pain relief is therefore considered to be the most sensible approach to take if you can find someone skilled enough to do the job.

Miracle Tip 5: Move It - do sit or stand for more than 20-30 minutes. Any prolonged posture builds tension in your muscles and joints. After all you are a movement based system, so move it often. With movement you improve the blood supply to the area, you also help muscles to ease their tension and keep joints moving. Sciatica is caused by tight muscles and joints, movement helps ease this tightness.

The simplest of the McKenzie exercises for alleviating sciatica is done by simply lying on one's stomach on the floor or a firm surface and propping one's chest up on the elbows. This places the lower spine in a gentle extension, which can help relieve sciatica by pushing bulging spinal discs forward, and away from the nerve roots that form the sciatic nerve, reducing pressure and irritation. Although you can maintain this position for relatively long periods of time, I recommend doing it for short periods of one or two minutes with a rest break of at least a few minutes in between. The frequent breaks prevent the low back muscles from tightening up as much, and yet still allows for good overall results. For more complex sciatica exercises, getting detailed instructions either through an illustrated guide or an experienced health care practitioner is advised.

About the Author:

Dr. George Best has been treating people with sciatica and piriformis syndrome since 1992. To receive a free ebook on Sciatica Exercises and a video information program on understanding and managing sciatica, visit his website at http://www.sciaticaselfcare.com .


Charles Yu

 
 
     
 
 





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