Sciatica is a condition that can make even the simplest tasks seem impossible. If you’re experiencing symptoms of sciatica, don’t let it control your life. There are many ways to find relief, and this blog post will outline some of the best options. So please read on for information that can help you get your life back on track. Thanks for reading!
Sciatica is a bit of a misnomer. It’s kind of like when you go to the store and they have a “catch-all” bin for things that are on clearance. Sciatica is kind of like that, but for medical diagnoses. There are maybe two dozen different things that could present with the complaints people usually label as “sciatica”.
In reality, there are really a wide number of different conditions. It is important because unless you have a diagnosis that really gives you a solid treatment plan, it’s not a useful diagnosis. Sciatica is just a label we give to a set of symptoms, rather than an actual condition. If you’re experiencing something that you think might be sciatica, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a healthcare professional so that you can begin treating the root cause of your symptoms.
What happens in sciatica is this
What is sciatica? It’s a pain in the butt…literally. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It starts in your lower back and runs through your buttock and all the way down your leg to your foot. Sciatica is when that nerve gets pinched, usually by a herniated disc in your spine. It can also be caused by things like pregnancy, tumors, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), and piriformis syndrome (when the muscle in your butt squeezes the sciatic nerve).
If you’re experiencing shooting pain down your leg, numbness, or tingling, you might have sciatica. Don’t worry though, it’s not as bad as it sounds. What it really is just a complaint. The chances of death or paralysis from sciatica are exceedingly rare. You have a better chance of being struck by a meteor than having that catastrophic event where you’re really in danger.
Most of the time, sciatica is anything that happens in the pathway of that nerve, between the limb and your brain. Anything could cause that same symptom. It could be something like if you’ve strained a muscle in your butt. The sciatic nerve runs right underneath that muscle. Sometimes when that muscle is irritated, it will release chemicals that can cause problems. The muscle will go into spasm and compress the sciatic nerve.
Any one of those things can cause that symptom. If we move up the chain of the sciatic nerve, you could have issues around where the nerve exits the spinal cord. For instance, if you have arthritis or if you have a slipped disc, those things are typically what people think of as sciatica.
It could also be something associated with the sciatic nerve. For instance, if any of the ligaments in your buttock or in your back get sprained, you can have the same kind of presence. Sciatica is often not that scary. Sciatica is often not a big deal. In fact, most of the time it can be fixed with some minor adjustments.
In my 17 years of practice, I have seen a few catastrophic events related to this complaint. It’s rare. I had a patient who came in and looked really sad. He was down and depressed. They think that they have this terminal condition in which they could end up being stuck sitting in a wheelchair for the rest of their lives. It’s not uncommon for people to think they’ll be the next victim or even imagine themselves in such an event.
If we can see people early on, we can find the real reason for their problems and start treatment plans that will help them. The symptoms will go away. When you find one of these rare occasions – it is very rewarding to know how much work went into preventing something bad from happening.
Some muscles can cause pain that feels like sciatica. These are muscles that form from the bottom of the spine and extend through the buttocks down to the thighs. The pain might be in different places depending on which muscle is causing the problem. For example, the piriformis, the tensor fasciae latae (TFL), and the gluteus minimus muscles can all cause pain that feels like sciatica.
These are all muscles that share nerve roots. If something goes off, like a loud alarm, it will cause a chain reaction and your body won’t be able to tell where it’s coming from. This will cause pain that feels like it’s coming from a wider area. There are many different types of tissue injuries that can cause the feeling of sciatica which may include ligaments, joint capsules and tendons. But they’re not necessarily going to end up being catastrophic – a nerve root destruction.
Here is one relatable experience we had . . .
I couldn’t help but smile a little as my colleague stared at the patient in disbelief. The woman had just walked out of the room on her own two feet, after having been in a lot of pain when sitting in her wheelchair.
“What did you do?” he asked, looking at me with fascination. “Some sort of magic trick?”
I shook my head and explained how we’d figured out the source of her pain and gave her an injection to help relieve it. It wasn’t magic – just good old-fashioned medical care.
She was able to just walk around and exclaim that her pain is so much better. She thought magic doesn’t happen all the time. It’s not magic how we make the pain go away – it’s science. But it just feels like magic to our patients when their pain diminishes or disappears altogether.
A lot of times it is going to be some cooperative work for both us doctors and the patient themselves – but it’s just, people just don’t have to live in that dire state of pain. We don’t want to live in that impression that it’s going to be a progressive problem that ends up with a disability.
In closing …
The term “sciatica”, is like degenerative disc disease. It’s not necessarily this catastrophic condition. We all get the impression that it is because, in rare instances, surgery is a necessity. A lot of patients will come in, be frustrated thinking It’s incurable because the surgeon said there’s no surgery to fix it. The surgeon is trying to tell you that this isn’t a big deal. You might need surgery, but it won’t be as bad as you think. This makes you feel like you can’t be fixed, but don’t worry. Surgery isn’t the only thing that can help you.
People may think there’s nothing that can be done when surgeons were just trying to emphasize one thing: “I can’t do surgery to fix this, but there are other treatment sources available.” That is exactly what we are trying to convey too.
We hope this article has shown you that there are ways to find relief from sciatica pain. If you’re still struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Our team of experts is here to guide you through your treatment options and help you find relief. Don’t let sciatica control your life – schedule a discovery call today and let us show you how we can help.
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DISCLAIMER: The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional