Don't Let Sciatica Distract Life Accomplishments

The Pittman CONNECTION The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body

“I Am Not Going To Allow Sciatic Pain To Control My Life!” DISCUSSING SCIATICA & BACK PAIN

Do you experience pain in the buttock, leg, or even your foot? If so, you may be experiencing sciatica. Sciatica is a common form of back and leg pain that is often misunderstood by sufferers. People frequently have questions about what sciatica is, why it occurs and how to find relief from the intense pain it can cause from the low back down to the feet. If you are suffering from sciatica, it is important to find its root cause. Many people often think an x-ray or expensive MRI is first needed to figure out what is causing pain. Having a lot of tests doesn’t mean you will find its root cause. Recent studies show that nearly 1 million of MRIs done for sciatica fail to find a treatable cause. With a new imaging technique called magnetic resonance neurography, 69% of the patients were found to have a trapped sciatic nerve deep in the buttock by a muscle called the piriformis. It is known that in about 25% of the general population, the sciatic nerve pierces through the piriformis muscle and can be susceptible to abnormal pressure and irritation. WHY DOES SCIATICA OCCUR? If there are changes in posture, muscle strength or pelvic alignment, the nerve can be compressed which leads to the quite common low back and sciatic nerve pains. The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nurve in your body. It even reaches down to the foot and therefore, can be irritated anywhere along its path. With sciatica, the consequent ache can be felt anywhere from the base of the spine, the buttocks or the back of the thigh and legs. Even tingling sensations in the toes can be attributed at times to the impingement of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is often characterized by one or more of the following symptoms: • Constant pain in only one side of the buttock or leg (rarely in both legs) • Pain that is worse when sitting • Leg pain that is often described as burning, tingling, or searing (versus a dull ache) • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg, foot, and/or toes • A sharp pain that may make it difficult to stand up or walk • Pain that radiates down the leg and possibly into the foot and toes (it rarely occurs only in the foot) Sciatic pain can vary from infrequent and irritating to constant and incapacitating. Symptoms are usually based on the location of the pinched nerve. While symptoms can be painful and potentially debilitating, it is rare that permanent sciatic nerve damage (tissue damage) will result, and spinal cord involvement is possible but rare.

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Patient Success Spotlight

“I can sleep again!”

“Before PT, pain was disrupting sleep and getting out of bed was very painful until I could begin moving around. Now sleep is much less disruptive and at times pain is not experienced at all. A lower level of pain is experienced when getting out of bed, but it subsides more quickly, but exercises seem to be addressing this.” – Bill B.

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