sciatica radiculopathy - Relief From Sciatica Back Pain
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Relief From Sciatica Back Pain

I wanted to talk to you about how you can get relief from sciatica back pain. I think back pain is probably considered one of the worst pains you can ever experience. It's something that I can only describe as crippling. It's not like any other pain you've ever experienced because this pain shoots across your back like a violent thunderstorm. It's not a typical type of pain and when you feel it, your body doesn't want to respond with movement because it doesn't want to feel it again. Sometimes my breathing becomes shallow because taking a deep breath will cause shooting pains in my back. I'm going to talk to you about how to get relief from sciatica back pain.


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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.

Have you ever experienced a literal pain in the butt that continues all the way down your leg? Has it ever felt like someone was sticking a hot poker into your leg? If either of these scenarios is familiar to you, you've probably suffered from sciatica, a pain in the sciatic nerve. No one experiencing sciatica wants it to stick around any longer than, well, at all, so let's not delay in discovering how you can make your leg pain a distant memory.

Sciatica is quite simply irritation of the sciatic nerve. This can happen several different ways at a few different points in the nerve's journey from the low back to and through the leg.

Drink like a fish. To drink like a fish, you need to drink what a fish drinks: water, lots and lots of water. When your body isn't hydrated properly, the tissues become tacky and adhesions form. If adhesions form, this slows the healing process and causes increased scar formation. Adhesions can form between your sciatic nerve and the surrounding tissues, causing your healing process to be incomplete and leaving you vulnerable to frequent, repeated sciatic episodes.

Stretching the piriformis muscle can be done several different ways. However, when your sciatic nerve is screaming, the easiest stretch involves lying on your back with your knees bent and pulling one knee at a time up towards the opposite shoulder and holding it for 5-30 seconds. You will know you are getting a good stretch when you feel a mild stretch in the buttocks near the hip.

People who suffer from sciatica will often feel pain in their leg which can travel from the back of their thigh up to the thigh and in some cases up to the hip or down towards the foot. For some people not only will they feel pain but they may find that their leg become numb and they will have problems in trying to either move or control their leg.

Exercise is actually extremely important to our spine especially in order to keep the discs within the spine healthy. By carrying out movement a person is actually enable nutrients and fluids to gain access to these discs which in turn ensures that they remain fit and healthy.

Frequently sciatic nerve pain is a result of the joints in your lower spine being poorly aligned and putting pressure or stretching on the nerves as they come off from your spine. This problem is called a subluxation and is diagnosed and treated by chiropractors. Sciatica can also commonly occur due to spasm of a muscle in the buttock called the piriformis muscle. The sciatic nerve passes under this muscle as it travels through the pelvis near the hip down to the back of your leg. This problem is frequently treated by physical therapists, chiropractors and massage therapists.

Take a break from your regular exercise routine to give your sciatic nerve a break. If you simply must exercise, try non-impact exercises of the upper body, like resistive exercise band exercise or exercise ball exercises. Swimming may be a helpful alternative to your regular routine as well.

Get it straight. Your posture plays an important role in the health of your spine. Sitting and standing as straight as is comfortably possible will help to reduce the effects of nerve irritation and get your nerves healing quicker and more completely. Avoid sitting in soft couches or chairs, as they will not give you the support that you need to sit well. Instead, drag a kitchen chair into the living room and spend your time sitting in a more supportive chair. Use a back support cushions in every chair you sit in; whether at work, in the car or at home to help support your back properly.

This is because without them carrying out any kind of exercise or movement the muscles in the back and their spine will lose its condition and will then find it very difficult to support the back properly. The weakening of the back could lead to injuries and this will only then increase the amount of pain that the person is feeling.

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.

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.

Get some sleep. Sleep is one of the most critical components in helping start and in maintaining a healing process. When you sleep, your body does its best work of healing and repairs the damage done throughout the day. Following any injury or during any illness, regular sleep is critical in helping your body get the upper hand.

Give it a rest. Exercise is a great asset to getting and staying healthy, but when your sciatic nerve is unhappy, exercise will frequently flare up your problem and slow your progress. Especially if the piriformis muscle is involved, exercise which causes pounding, such as walking, running, tennis, basketball, soccer, etc., will flare the piriformis spasm and put additional strain on the spine in the lower part of the back.

If you aren't able to get in to the chiropractor or physical therapist right away or you hope to help improve your situation at least in part on your own, here are some tips to help relieve the pain associated with sciatica.

Stretch yourself. Relaxing the muscles in the lower back, buttocks and upper legs through stretching will help reduce the strain on the sciatic nerve and the joints throughout the lower back and pelvis. Always stretch gently and avoid any further stretching if it causes sharp pain or if it aggravates your problem.

Stretching exercises are especially good for treating sciatica as they target those muscles which are causing the pain because they have become tense (tight) and not as flexible as they should be. People who take up sciatica exercises find that it helps to strengthen and stretch the back muscles and they can recover much more quickly when they suffer a flare up of sciatica in the future. Plus it has also been found that it actually helps to prevent them from suffering future episodes of sciatica pain.

Move it! While sitting in a straight-back chair is helpful in supporting your lower back and spine, be sure that you aren't sitting for any longer than 15-20 minutes at a time. Lack of movement in the joints of the spine especially can cause further damage, stiffness and muscle strain. Getting up and moving frequently, even if only to stretch or walk gently around the room will help to keep circulation fresh and facilitate a quicker recovery. Be sure that you stay well within your limits; if you are pushing yourself too hard and it is causing pain, then stop and give yourself a rest.

 
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Put on some relief. Topical analgesics can help alleviate some of the bite of the pain of sciatica while helping soothe the spasm in the muscles of the low back, buttocks and upper leg. Getting even temporary relief from your sciatica can help your healing process by providing you an opportunity to rest or sleep.

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.

The odd thing about back pain is that it isn't real pain, when you look at it. Essentially what is happening is that there is pressure being applied to specific nerves in your back and around the spine that produce the pain. Often one of your spinal discs could have burst or gone down way too much and your spinal columns are grinding right on a nerve. A tense muscle that is pressuring a nerve can cause another type of pain.

If after 4-5 days you choose to alternate ice and heat, keep it off from the spine and limit heat use, especially with a heating pad, to no more than 20 minutes. Avoid sleeping while applying heat, as it can cause burns and can dry out the tissues, slowing the healing process.

The better you take care of yourself, the greater health and vitality you will enjoy.


About the Author:

Dr. Nick Preston is a chiropractor focused on helping families enjoy greater health and founder of Wisdom and Health. If you want to learn more about sciatica and find products designed to help you, check out www.wisdomandhealth.com/sciatica.html. You can also find products which will help you quickly make your leg pain a distant memory.

Go for a massage. It stands to reason that if your sciatica is due to irritation of the sciatic nerve from spasm of your piriformis, hamstring or lower back muscles, deep tissue massage can be of great benefit to you. Getting a massage or even using a massager at home that is able to get into the deeper tissues of the buttocks and low back may help relieve some or all of your sciatic pain. At the very least, it can help to reduce the stress that commonly accumulates when you are in pain.

If you want relief from sciatica back pain you have a few exercises available to you that can help take pressure away from these nerves. Lie on your back, pull your knees up to your chest and hug them. This causes the lower back to stretch out and that is really the only way to stretch it. That will take a lot of the pressure away. Another exercise is grabbing onto something above you and hanging from it, sort of like the monkey bars. This will stretch out your back and tell a lot of the pressure away.

Chill out. Ice will be your best friend when you are suffering from sciatica. Placing a cold pack or ice pack on the lower spine, tailbone and/or buttock for 20 minutes once every 2-3 hours will help reduce swelling and also reduce pain. It is important to use ice exclusively at the onset of sciatica, as it has been found to decrease the length of time needed for healing.

Get professional help. It is always a good idea to seek help from a chiropractor, medical doctor, physical therapist or massage therapist when you experience pain in the low back and/or legs. Waiting too long to effectively treat a condition involving your nerves can cause problems as mild as missing time from work all the way up to irreversible nerve damage. It is wise to effectively and completely deal with any problems involving your nerves, as doing so will help prevent similar problems from rearing their ugly head again down the road.

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.

Learn more about Sciatica Relief Methods

To understand and defeat the beast that is sciatica, it will be helpful to understand what it is and what causes it. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body, which starts in the low back and travels all the way down your legs to the bottom of your feet. It controls nearly everything within your legs: from the large hamstring and quadriceps muscles in your upper legs to the smallest blood vessels in the bottom of your feet.

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.

Even if you end up seeking professional help to deal with sciatica, incorporating practical home care can help shorten your recovery time and get you out of pain quicker. If pain in your buttocks and legs is something that you would rather avoid than deal with again, use these tips regularly to give yourself the best chance of preventing sciatica for years to come.

However there are ways in which sciataca can be treated and certainly using sciatica exercises can be extremely effective in dealing with this particular problem. Although many people may feel that bed rest is the best way for treating sciatica this is simply not true. Yes resting for a day or two can help to relieve the pain felt when the sciatica flares up but after that, because a person has become inactive, they will find that the pain actually becomes much worse.

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.

Many of the sciatica exercises you will see being presented to you by your doctor, health care provider or by websites providing information on exercises for treating this problem will focus on strengthening both the muscles in your back and abdomen. By strengthening these muscles a person is actually providing their back with more support.

However the actual sciatica exercises a person will use to treat the problem will depend on what the actual cause of the pain is. Plus it is important that you should know that this type of pain can be caused by some other underlying medical condition such as an infection or tumor which will need to be treated as well using the right kind of medical procedures. For more details visit www.soundbodytrainer.com


Charles Yu

 
 
     
 
 





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