Sciatica Is Just A Pain In The Arse!
“I’ve a bad case of Sciatica.”
This is one of the most common things we hear people say when they come into Pain Relief Limerick.
But what is Sciatica? – Being able to answer this is a very important step towards recovery from ‘Sciatica’.
Sciatica is pins and needles and pain down either leg. But technically, Sciatica is not even a condition. It is simply a symptom of another problem. So, if you have back pain, Sciatica is one of the symptoms of your back pain. A very common misconception is that Sciatica is a result of a bulging disc. However, this is not always the case. It can be the case but more often than not, Sciatica is caused by an impingement somewhere else along the path of the Sciatic nerve.
(It’s also important to understand that quite often this pain down the leg can simply be pain referral from muscles in the low back and leg and not by Sciatica at all).
This picture shows the path the sciatic nerve takes:
It starts in the lower spine and works its way down your leg and branches off into other nerves. So, any of these areas of the path of the nerve can be responsible for Sciatic type pain.
- If a disc is bulging.
- If there is a tight muscle in your glutes (Backside).
- If a joint tightens up and isn’t moving right.
Basically, any impingement of the sciatic nerve can give you Sciatica, so it’s not always serious. The most common cause of Sciatica we come across at Pain Relief Limerick is tight and fatigued muscles in the glutes. As mentioned before, these muscles very often refer pain down the leg which resembles Sciatica but is not related to the sciatic nerve at all.
The problem with Sciatica is, people are afraid of it. We are afraid to do stuff because we have Sciatica. I often hear things like, I can’t exercise because I have Sciatica, or, I can’t go to work because I have Sciatica. What if we didn’t call it Sciatica and just called it what it is.
For example, if I told you that you have Sciatica, you will use it as an excuse to not do things. You will tell your friends you can’t go to the gym, work or even the pub, because you have Sciatica. However, if I told you that you have back pain because you have a tight muscle in your arse, you are less likely to tell people this or use it as an excuse.
Imagine ringing your boss to tell him you can’t come to work because you have Sciatica, they will likely feel sorry for you and allow you the day off. Imagine ringing your boss and saying you want a day off because you have a tight muscle in your arse. They are less likely to sympathize, and most definitely won’t give you the day off. The point I’m trying to make here is, we use the term Sciatica to catastrophise things and make things appear worse than what they really are.
This can also have a negative effect on recovery.
Chances are, we have all had Sciatica at some stage in our lives. An awful analogy, but, if you sit on the toilet for too long and when you stand up you have pins and needles in your feet, and it takes a few minutes to loosen out, technically this is Sciatica. But we don’t panic when this happens, because we know it is a temporary thing and certain movements and activities will help to shake it off. We know that it was sitting on the toilet for too long that causes it so it’s easy to fix. We just need to know where the symptoms are coming from.
This is where you should seek advice from a Physical Therapist as opposed to a Doctor. It’s simply not a Doctors field, they have enough on their plate, so you will most likely be told to rest and take medication and most likely won’t improve and you will eventually end up seeing a Physical Therapist anyway, so save yourself time and money. If it’s something you are just not sure about, ask for advice.
At Pain Relief Limerick we offer a free consultation for this very reason, to give you peace of mind before you book a treatment plan. It costs nothing to ask for our help!!