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4 Mistakes with Sciatica Pain

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a general name given to any pain that is caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. It runs from the back of the pelvis, through the buttocks, and travels along the back of both legs, ending at your feet.

Sciatica pain relief

What are the causes of sciatica?

Many things can cause the sciatic nerve to become irritated however, the most common causes are:

Herniated disc - a herniated disc occurs when the outer part of the disc ruptures (splits), allowing the gel inside to bulge and protrude outwards between the vertebrae. This can press on the nerve causing sciatica or irritate the nerve by the chemicals released.

Spinal stenosis - this is the narrowing of the nerve passages in the spine. It occurs when the bones, ligaments or discs of the spine restrict the nerves of the spine. This usually occurs in people over 40 years of age. (It is very common, and if you are 40 that doesn't mean you will have it).

Injury to muscles/ ligaments - This can cause swelling and inflammation around the back which can irritate the sciatic nerve. Some muscle problems can mimic sciatica.

Piriformis syndrome  - It is a condition that piriformis muscle, located in the buttock region, spasms and causes buttock pain. The piriformis muscle can also irritate the nearby sciatic nerve and cause pain, numbness and tingling along the back of the leg and into the foot (similar to sciatic pain).

Symptoms of sciatica

Sciatica is different from general back pain. The pain of sciatica usually causes a little problem to the back, however, radiates from the lower back, past the buttocks and into one or both of the legs, often as far down as the calf or foot. Sciatic pain can range from being mild to very painful and can last for weeks or months.

In many cases If you have sciatica, you may also experience the following symptoms around your legs and feet:

- Numbness around the buttocks.
- Tingling around the buttocks, and sometimes could radiate down the knee and your calves.
- Muscle weakness could happen in some cases.

Cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is a rare but serious condition that can cause sciatica. The cauda equina is a bundle of nerves that split from the spinal cord. Cauda equina syndrome occurs when these nerves are compressed or damaged.

One of the warning signs of (cauda equina) syndrome is suddenly or progressively losing control of your legs, or bladder/bowel. If this happens we would encourage you to seek urgent medical attention immediately.

How to treat sciatica?

Most cases of acute sciatica will pass without the need for treatment. You can follow this link and see how to treat sciatica at home. This advice and usually help relieve the symptoms. However, for persistent sciatica, you may be advised to try a structured exercise program under the supervision of your Physical Therapist.

I have shared with you 4 Mistake that doesn't help your Sciatica to get better. Understanding these mistakes will helps you to avoid these mistakes and improve your back pain and your sciatica.

As I mentioned, I see many of my patients in the clinic suffering from sciatica pain, and they are trying to follow the rehab exercises daily but unfortunately not aware of these factors that can affect their back pain recovery.

1- Identify activities that aggravates yoru sciatica pain and modify them

The first mistakes that many of my patients who suffer from sciatica pain are doing is repeating activities that aggravates their sciatica pain and not modifying those activities. Unfortunately if you don't modify your daily activities that bother your sciatica pain your back pain recovery will be way longer even though if you follow your daily exercise for your lower back pain relief.

2- Self Diagnosis for sciatica through google search

The second common mistakes that my patients are doing while experience sciatica pain is that, they are trying to self diagnosed their back pain and sciatica pain through google search.

Unfortunately you can make diagnosis for your lower back pain or on the other word the liability and accuracy of your diagnosis would be very low and I would always suggest my patients to sick help from professional like physical therapy or physiotherapist for correct diagnosis. More specifically if you suffering from sciatica pain or disc bulges or non specific lower back pain your physical therapist would be the best person to help you with the right diagnosis and treatment plan.

3- Not following the rehab exercises consistent

The 3rd common mistake that many of my patients doing after episode of sciatica pain is to follow the rehab exercises until their lower back pain decrease and by then they stop their rehab routine or try them on and off. I would always suggest my patients to follow the rehab exercises for sciatica or disc bulges consistent and even after recovery from lower back pain keep the rehab exercises as part of their daily routine.

With continue doing your rehab exercises you will minimise the reoccurrence of your lower back pain and your sciatica pain will recover quicker. Also, with following the routine that I share with you in this video you can reduce your sciatica pain and improve your mobility.

4- Focus on what they can't do

The 4th common mistake that many of my patients doing after episode of sciatica pain is to only focus on what they can't do and bother their lower back pain and keep checking those activities. I would highly suggest my patients specially in the acute phase of their back pain to avoid checking those activities that bother their lower back pain. Make a list of activities that that does not bother your lower back pain and stick to those activities in the acute phase of your injury and gradually build up and progress your rehab routine.

Our Approach

Dublin Sports Injury Clinic is a Physical Therapy Clinic based in Pearse Street, Dublin 2. We have a high volume of patients who are treated with low back pain. Initially, our treatment will be focusing on helping our patients to get pain free as quickly as possible. We educate our patients to understand the cause of their back pain and how they can stay pain-free. Our treatment and rehabilitation exercises will be customized for every patient and we show them the correct techniques and progression.

Next step 

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Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. You can contact us if you would like to book an appointment or get some advice from our therapist.

References: Check here