One of the most common complaints that I hear from people is low back pain. There are many kinds of low back pain. One of the most common is Sciatica. In this edition of our newsletter, I would like to talk about this condition and what you can do to get rid of sciatica.
Common Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica is a condition wherein the Sciatic Nerve is irritated or inflamed. The sciatic nerve is the biggest nerve in the body. It is composed of nerves exiting the lower lumbar spine and sacrum. The common causes of sciatica include:
- Herniated disc – commonly known as slipped disc or bulging disc. This is when the inner core of the disc leaks out through the outer core and irritates the nerve root.
- Degenerative disc disease – disc degeneration occurs as we get older. The degenerated disc can irritate the nerve root.
- Spondylolisthesis – this occurs when one vertebra slipped forward on another vertebra.
- Spinal stenosis – stenosis occurs when there is narrowing of the spinal canal. This can naturally occur as part of the aging process.
- Piriformis syndrome – the sciatic nerve run under the piriformis muscle in the buttock. Pressure from this muscle can cause irritation of the sciatic nerve.
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction – the sacroiliac joint is located at the bottom of the spine. The L5 nerve, which is part of the sciatic nerve lie on top of this.
Less common causes of sciatica includes: pregnancy, scar tissue, muscle strain, spinal tumor and infection.
Symptoms of Sciatica
Pain from sciatica can be mild for some but severe and very debilitating for others. It has the potential to get worse. Common symptoms of sciatica include:
- Pain on the low back or buttock radiating down the back of the thigh and can reach the lower leg and foot. Is usually one sided but can also occur on both sides.
- Pain is typically described as sharp or burning
- Some feel pins and needles, numbness or even weakness down the leg
- Pain is worse in sitting or standing. Pain is less when lying down or walking
Home remedies for Sciatica
- Applying ice can help decrease inflammation on the sciatic nerve. In other cases, if ice does not help, heat can also be applied especially if the cause of the irritation is muscle spasm.
- If sitting causes increase in pain, using cushion in the seat can help solve this problem.
- Stretching exercises can help stretch the low back and buttock muscle which can relieve pressure on the irritated sciatic nerve. Some of the common stretching exercises are listed below. Videos of these exercises can be found here.
- Knee to chest stretch – lying on your back, bring the knee of the affected leg to your chest. Hold it with your hands to maintain the position. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times. This can be done on both sides.
- Piriformis stretch – this can be done in 2 ways. First way is lying on your back, bring the knee of the affected leg to your opposite chest and hold the position with your hands. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times. The second way to do this is to cross the affected leg over the unaffected leg and bring your knees to the chest. Use your hands to maintain the position. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times.
- Hamstring stretch – lying on you back, use a stretch strap, towel or belt and hook it around the foot of your affected leg. Lift the leg up with your knee straight and use your hands to help stretch the hamstrings by pulling on the stretch strap. Stop when a stretch on the back of the thigh or leg is felt. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times.
Treatment for Low Back Pain or Sciatica
If the above home remedies are not enough to relieve your low back pain/sciatica, Don’t Worry! We can design a specialized program that has shown great results at relieving your pain quickly. This program can consist of using different modalities including the revolutionary Laser treatment, manual therapy techniques and exercises. Call Restore Plus TODAY for more information or to schedule an appointment! (800) 905-0513.
Restore Plus Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation
33-10 Queens Blvd. Suite 301
Long Island City, NY 11101