Making sense of sciatica
Sciatica is a type of nerve pain affecting the sciatic nerve that travels from your lower back and down your legs.
Sciatica happens when something in your body pinches or puts extra pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing shooting pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness in the lower back, legs, ankles, and feet. Some of the most common causes of sciatica include disc lesions, a narrowing of the spine, and slipping vertebrae. With proper treatment, symptoms of sciatica typically improve within 6 weeks. To prevent sciatica from occurring, it is recommended that individuals incorporate exercise, healthy eating, and stress management techniques into their daily lives.
What does sciatica feel like?
Sciatica is a type of pain that travels down the sciatic nerve, branching from your lower back and down each leg to the tips of the toes. Usually, sciatica only affects one side of the body and symptoms can vary from person to person.
Some of the most common symptoms of sciatica include:
- Burning, aching, or throbbing pain down the back of the legs
- Numbness and tingling down the back of the legs
- Shooting pain down the back of the legs
- Weakness in the hamstrings, lower legs, ankles, or feet
What causes sciatica?
Vertigo is caused by calcium carbonate crystals called otoconia that live in your inner ears. When these tiny crystals get dislodged from their normal resting place and move through your inner ear’s semicircular canals, it sends powerful signals to the brain that you are violently spinning, even though you’re not.
Vertigo is triggered by movement and can arise from common day-to-day movements such as:
- Looking over your shoulder
- Bending over
- Rolling over in bed
- Sudden head movements
How do you treat sciatica to ease pain?
At The Bridge, we believe in providing our patients with education, advice, and individualized exercise programming that is based on their goals and needs. The specific activities that are effective for each individual will depend on the cause and severity of their sciatica and vary from individual to individual.
We complete an assessment with each new patient to determine what positions and movements seem to aggravate or relieve their sciatic pain.
From there, we explore comfortable resting positions, pain-free movement strategies, and provide a customized exercise program to release pressure off of the sciatic nerve. We also provide therapist-administered manual therapy for pain relief.
Some treatment strategies that we typically suggest to help patients manage their sciatic pain at home include:
- Utilizing a hip-hinge and bracing strategy when bending or getting in and out of a chair
- Utilizing a “log roll” and bracing strategy when rolling in bed
- Going for short walks 2 to 3 times per day