Sciatic pain is often pain down the leg, however there are many causes. Many people think sciatica is a condition, however it is only a symptom, such as shoulder pain. However there are many different causes of shoulder pain, just like with sciatica.
Symptoms of Sciatica
Pain radiating down the leg
Note true sciatica goes past the knee- other causes of scaitica do not!!
Stiffness in the lower back, especially in the morning and when bending over
Pain or stiffness especially when getting up from sitting
Pain in the glutes or to hamstrings
Common causes of Sciatica
Disc herniation or varying degrees of derangement- bulges, etc
Trigger point referral
Sacroiliac or SI joint
Facet joint referral
Sciatic nerve entrapment
Sciatic nerve entrapment at hamstrings
Sciatic nerve entrapment at the calf muscles
Hopefully now you understand that determining the cause of your sciatic pain or symptom is the most important way to develop a plan to reduce your pain.
If you are wondering what a nerve entrapment is you arent the only one. Nerve entrapments are very common causes of pain, especially sciatic pain. Nerve entrapments occur when scar tissue or fibrosis develops between a nerve at muscle, tendons, ligaments. This causes the nerve to not be able to stretch and move which will irritate the nerve and cause pain (sciatica)
Biomechanical causes of Sciatica
Muscle imbalance in the lumbar (low back) spine and the pelvis
Rotation of the pelvis or lower crossed syndrome
Tight hip flexors and hamstrings
Weak glute and core muscles
Lack of thoracic (middle back) mobility
Lack of hip mobility (especially of an athlete that rotates)
Lack of ankle mobility or excessive pronation of the ankle
Weak core strength and stability
Treatments for Sciatica
Reduction of stressors which can exacerbate sciatic pain
Sitting for excessive amounts of time- car, travel, work
Poor sleeping ergonomics or poor mattress
We will post a video with common sciatic exercsies however, these are general and may not apply to your specific cause
Active Release Technique for sciatic nerve entrapment and break up scar tissue
Adjustments and manipulations will help your lumbar spine move better
Cryotherapy helps reduce inflammation to the low back or sciatic nerve
GameReady also will help reduce inflammation and swelling in the lower back and hips
Things NOT to do if you have Sciatic Pain
Stretch your hamstrings!
Your body might be tightening your hamstrings to protect you or try to create some core strength or stability
Avoid bending forward, especially in the first 30-60 minutes of waking up
If you sciatic pain is caused from a disc herniation, bending forward in the morning will irritate your disc
Lacrosse ball or mashing your back or hamstrings with a foam roller can make your sciatic nerve more irritated
Other stretches to avoid
Sitting or standing toe touch
Single or double leg knee to chest stretch
All these exercises are creating flexion your spine, which can make an acute episode of sciatic pain worse!
Please consult a Professional if you are experencing any of the above. There are also serious causes of sciatic pain. Do not self diagnose or treat before receiving a consult!