AscentPT_Is Your Pain Sciatica or Just Back Pain?

Our Monthly Climb The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body STANDUP TOSCIATICA Feel Younger. Move Better. Get Stronger.

Do you experience pain that radiates down from your low back to your buttock, knee, or even your foot? If so, you may be experiencing sciatica. Sciatica means irritation of the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body, that runs from the lower back down the back of the leg to the knee where it splits into two nerves that run down to the foot. Irritation of the sciatic nerve results in pain radiating down the back of one leg, often accompanied by numbness, tingling, and back pain. People frequently have questions about what sciatica is, why it occurs, and how to find relief from the intense pain it can cause. The most important thing to know is that sciatica is a symptom rather than a condition and the cause of the nerve irritation is usually in the lumbar spine or the buttock. 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 their pain. Having a lot of scans doesn’t mean you will find its root cause because some causes don’t show up easily on these scans and any findings can only be assumed as the cause. On the other hand, physical therapists use a series of clinical tests to determine the source of the pain with the patient’s real-time feedback. A common saying in physical therapy

is, ‘if your pain is reproducible, it’s reducible’ which means the clinical test which provokes your symptoms will confirm the source; something a scan can’t do. These clinical tests differentiate whether the nerve is compressed by the lumbar spine or the piriformis muscle in the buttock. In about 25% of the general population, the sciatic nerve pierces through the piriformis muscle which makes it susceptible to abnormal pressure and irritation. Why Does Sciatica Occur? If there are changes in posture, muscular activation, or strength, the sciatic nerve can get compressed by either the lumbar spine or piriformis muscle leading to the quite common lower back and radiating nerve pains. There is also the possibility of the nerve being irritated anywhere along its path from the lower back down to the foot if it adheres to the soft tissue around it, such as the hamstring muscles. If you’ve ever thought you had tight hamstrings, it could actually be sciatic nerve tension. If you or someone you care about is suffering from sciatica, give us a call today to find how treatment will target the exact source of the problem.

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