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WHAT IS SCIATICA AND HOW EXERCISES CAN HELP

What Is Sciatica

sciatica pain

Sciatica is not an illness; it is a symptom of a problem in the spinal nerves.  It could be that the spinal nerves are “pinched”, or a slipped disc might have occurred.  The main symptoms are pain in the leg that may be either mild and achy or excruciating and shooting making any movement impossible.  Some people get “pins and needles” down the legs and toes and many feel numbness in their legs or a burning sensation.  It varies from person to person.

Contrary to what people believe, Sciatica is not caused by compression on the Sciatica nerves only, it could also be caused by an irritation to the spinal nerve root as well.  The symptoms are the same – tingling toes, shooting pains down one leg with pain originating from the spine.

Technically Sciatica is not a back problem – it is a nerve problem.  There are various causes of Sciatica.

  • Disc Herniation commonly known as “Slipped Disc”. This causes an irritation to the root of the spinal nerve.  When this happens, you would feel weakness or tingling feelings down one leg as the spinal nerve goes all the way down to your feet and toes hence when the spinal nerve is affected, the tingling feeling travels to your toes
  • Spinal Stenosis is an arthritic condition. Due to arthritis, the spinal canal narrows and irritates the spinal nerve and once again when the spinal nerve is affected, it results in Sciatica
  • Piriformis syndrome is when the piriformis muscle which runs over the sciatic nerve, tightens and pinches the sciatic nerve irritating it. This is a rare condition.
  • There may be other isolating causes of sciatica including growths, infections and inflammations, dislocated hip and more.

Related Sciatica Articles

Are You At Risk For Sciatica?

So are you at risk for Sciatica?  Well no one is spared but there are some groups of people who are more prone than others?

Those that lead a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of getting Sciatica.  Why?  Sitting too long at the computer or being a couch potato puts pressure on your spine and the spinal nerve.  After sometime, it will cause damage to the root nerve causing you to have a higher chance of getting Sciatica.

On the other hand, jobs that involve lifting and twisting may cause slipped disc.  Another job type that can cause or bring aggravate Sciatica is a vibration job such as a job using a Jackhammer all day.

The age group of those between 30 to 50 are the highest risk for Sciatica.  This is due to the fact that at the age of 30 the lifestyle of this group is active and yet the bones have started the degenerative process. In addition, this age group is also most likely to have the highest chance of injuries and cause damage to themselves.  The resilience in the discs in this age group has started to lose its resilience.

Diabetics have high chances of nerve damage including the sciatic nerve.  This means that if you are a diabetic, your likelihood of getting sciatica are in the higher group.

Pregnant women are another risky group.  This is due to the baby’s position and hormonal changes.  If the baby is in a position where the baby is on the sciatic nerve, this will cause Sciatica.  Once the baby moves and the pressure is relieved the pain will be relieved as well.

Another group of active people prone to Sciatica are runners and walkers.  When these people run or walk they lean forward using their piriformis muscle.  The piriformis muscle runs over the sciatic nerve and when the piriformis muscle tightens as the athlete leans forward it may pinch the sciatic nerve causing Sciatica pain.

Treatment For Sciatica

The main aim of treatment is to make the patient feel comfortable with reduced pain.  There are several ways of treating sciatica – some intrusive, others more natural.  Let’s discuss the various treatments.

Drugs : Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen (Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs) may be used to treat the inflammation and relieve the pain and allowing mobility for the patient.  You may be given muscle relaxants to help you cope with the muscle spasms which may be very uncomfortable.  The use of drugs is primarily for pain relief so that patients can get to the movement stage where you can exercise as exercise is the best treatment for Sciatica.  However, if you are in pain you will not be mobile and exercising will be impossible because of the pain.

Drugs are not the best option as you do not want to depend on pain killers for the rest of your life.  You would prefer to heal from the symptom instead of depending on Analgesics, Muscles Relaxants and Non-Steroid anti-inflammatory drugs.  These are meant to be used for short term treatment to get you mobile.  Mobility is the best treatment for Sciatica, whilst contrary to the belief that you need rest, rest more than after the initial flare up will make things much worse off for you in the long run.

Exercises or Physical Therapy: There are specific exercises that decrease pain by decreasing pressure on the nerve.  These are usually a combination of cardiovascular (aerobic) exercises and stretching exercises.  Yoga is extremely great for the treatment of Sciatica as it strengthens the core, back and legs – the main muscles affected in Sciatica.  Whilst it may seem extremely ridiculous to be exercising to you whilst you are in pain, I assure you to read below under the sub heading ‘EXERCISES AND PHYSICAL THERAPY” as it may be alright to rest for a couple of days following a flare-up but being immobile will make the pain worse for you.  It is important that exercises are done.  It is just like any injury needs rehabilitation like physiotherapy input, in a similar situation, Sciatica needs rehabilitation exercises to heal the sciatica nerve.

It may be painful when you first start exercising but I assure you as you persevere, the pain will ease.  I was in a bad car crash and had injured my right shoulder badly and it was really painful to move and the last thing I wanted to do was exercise it, but I had to.  With tears, I did so and I assure you, it’s worth it as I have a fully functional arm now.

Spinal Decompression Machines

Spinal Decompression: Spinal Decompression Therapy uses a motorised device or a traction table to stretch the spine to relieve the pain in the back or leg.  We will discuss this later in detail. The theory behind this is the stretching of the spine brings the “slipped disc” back into place and thus the healing nutrients into the spine. The theory does make sense as in the case of a slipped disc, stretching the spine will naturally push the slipped disc back into its original spot.

spinal-decompression-machine

Amazon has a selection of these.

Spinal Injections: For those of you who don’t respond to pain medication as relief, a cortisone injection into the lower back is given into the roots of the nerve to increase mobility.  This is almost similar to having an epidural during labour.

Surgery: As a last resort, for those who are in severe pain and do not respond to any of the above-mentioned treatments, surgery may be the last resort.  However as with any surgery there are a lot of risk factors that you do need to take into consideration.  Studies have however shown that surgery in the short term is just as effective as conventional treatment in the long term with much less risks.  These studies have been done both in the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

Natural Methods: Apart from those mentioned above, there are many other natural products such as the Sciatica Saddle Pillow which is meant to help release the pressure and pain.  The Sciatica SOS Program which promises to relieve you of pain within 7 days.  Upon reading it, I found it to be a great system as it only uses natural ingredients based on ancient recipes (which is always good).  I have written more about it below.

EXERCISES OR PHYSICAL THERAPY

This is of course the most natural way of treating Sciatica.  However, it is important that the right exercises are used to ensure the healing process.  As the muscles involved in Sciatica are the lower back, legs and the abs or core muscles, it is imperative that these are the muscles that need to be strengthened.

Whilst many people might think the opposite and assume that bed rest will be a better option to heal Sciatica, it is counterproductive.  Mobility is what is needed in Sciatica.  A day or two of rest after an episode is encouraged but any longer and the healing process is compromised.

Your exercise program should be a combination of cardiovascular and strength training.  This may mean combining walking with stretching exercises such as gentle easy yoga like movements or just simple stretching.

Here is one yoga stretching exercise that may help you.  It is an easy one and a gentle one.

Pigeon pose

There are various versions of this stretch.  This version is adapted for Sciatica sufferers.

  1. Lie on the floor comfortably. If this is all you can do, just keep doing this several times a day until you can do step 2.
  2. Bring your right leg over your left, bent at the knee. Hold for 16 counts
  3. Repeat with the other leg.

(If you can’t hold for 16 counts, just hold to the best of your ability)

For your cardiovascular activity, the easiest exercise to start with is walking.  Another great exercise is swimming as the water pressure especially in a heated or physiotherapy pool) will relief you of pain instantly.

Remember it is important to keep your mobility up.  Lack of movement will cause your pain to worsen and cause your symptoms to worsen.

SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY

Spinal decompression therapy is the stretching of the spine in a controlled and relaxed manner.  The theory behind it is that it when the spine is stretched healing nutrients can enter your disc to heal it.  It also pulls the slipped discs back to place and aligns the spine using a motorized table which is split in half.

In a spinal decompression session, you will be placed on a divided table where only the lower half of the table moves.  You will be harnessed to the lower half, fully clothed.  In some situations, the patients are lying on their and in others in the prone position.  With the top half remaining totally fixed, the motorized lower half of the table slides back and forth stretching the back.  Each session differs in time depending on the practitioner. You will not feel any pain during the treatment.  In fact, you should be relaxed.

SCIATICA SOS ™

glen-johnson-sciatica-sos-239x300-1

The Sciatica SOS™ System guarantees that you would be pain free within 7 days.  It uses no drugs, medications but only natural herbs and remedies based on a Nepalese herbal system.

The program developed by Glen Johnson, uses traditional Nepalese herbs and natural therapies to heal Sciatica for good.  In his video, he describes how he had suffered for three years with the first two years in vain with western medicine and chiropractors that could not help him.  He describes the symptom as the “most emasculating”

In the third year, his wife introduces a family friend from Nepal who happened to be a healer in her home town in Nepal and she gives him a herbal concoction to try and he feels immense relief and she gives him some remedies to do for the next 7 days.  On day 5, he is totally well and does the groceries for the family – something he could never do before.

Isn’t that an amazing story?

I wouldn’t blame you if you’re feeling skeptical about it.  I was too until I read the reviews which I have included some below.  Moreover, if a product offers a money back guarantee, it must work.

Here are some testimonials from people who have benefited from the SCIATICA SOS ™

Jane Eddington, Minnesota:

“Thank you so much for this Glen! After 3 months struggling to get a good

night’s sleep due to the pain, I was searching online to see if there was

something out there that could help as pain killers and NSAIDs just weren’t

cutting it.

When I ran across your site my first thought was it sounded too good to be

true, but gave it a try anyway seeing that you had a money back guarantee in

place.

I could hardly believe it; literally the next day the pain was gone and I was able

to get a proper night’s sleep. You’re a life saver. ”

 

Michael Pierce, Ireland:

 “I can’t thank you enough Glenn!

I was a sciatica sufferer for years and had wasted thousands of dollars on all

kinds of therapies and medications, from epidural injections to chiropractic

treatments. I’d get temporary relief but after a few days the pain would be

back.

It had gotten to the point where tying my own shoe laces had become a pain-

staking 10 minute task.

A friend of mine sent me a link to Sciatica SOS on Facebook and barely 5

days later the pain was gone completely and I have my mobility back. One

month later I am still completely pain-free. This should be a must to anyone

with sciatica.

 

If you would like to try this program, the link to the website is www.thesciaticasos.ga.   A great book to read which tells you all about Sciatica and the Sciatica SOS System is “Sciatica – Why You have been treating it the wrong way”.  This book can be found on Amazon or online.  I found the book extremely informative on the symptoms and the various available treatments.

SCIATICA SADDLE PILLOW ™ BY JUMBLE

After sitting for long periods, the pressure builds up on your sciatic nerve.  This can lead to Sciatica pain.  The Sciatica Saddle Pillow is a bicycle or saddle shaped pillow and it is meant to ease the pressure from the sciatic nerve from long hours of sitting.  It does this my helping you maintain a proper posture by taking weight off your thighs and glutes.

Washable, filled with poly fill, it is perfect for use in the car, office or home.

Though the Sciatica Saddle Pillow has a 2.8 out of 5 rating on Amazon though there are some really good reviews on the pillow.  Here are some of the 5 star reviews from Amazon:

“This is the one thing I have been really waiting for as I gave the last one I had to my Stepdaughter for the same problem, it took a bit longer to get it than I had hoped but it is here finally and now I’m getting some relief from this cursed pain.”

“Really works to relieve pain. It takes some getting used to but does the job. Worth the trial. I recommend”

If you are really suffering from Sciatica pain and sit a lot in our job or in our day to day activities, the Sciatica Saddle Pillow™ might be worth a try.