What exactly is sciatica…And how do I get rid of it?
You’re probably familiar with the term sciatica…that nagging, achy sensation in your butt or gluteal region, with occasional sharp pain, numbness and tingling that goes down your leg.
So what exactly causes this? The actual origin of sciatica usually comes from the low back – which is where the nerves originate from-and radiate into your leg, sometimes even the foot.
Figuring out the root cause of this pain is essential in treating this condition, but here are some general guidelines to follow if you experience this pain:
Often times, the piriformis – that deep muscle in our buttocks region that lies underneath the gluteal muscles- gets very tight, achy, and weak with sciatica.
Step 1: Get rid of the inflammation! The reason for the muscle pain is due to inflammation – so calm it down with ice. 10-15 minutes a couple of times a day will work well.
Step 2: Release the tight muscle! A very good tool for this can be a 4” inflatable ball – you can get one at the dollar store or if you have kids you probably have one lying around. Lay on your back with your knees bent, and place the ball exactly where that tight muscle is, and lay there for 30 seconds to 1 minute to let the muscle relax and let go.
Here are a couple stretches that you can try as well:
Each of the above stretches can be held for 30 seconds, up to 3 times each. You should feel a stretching sensation in your gluteal or buttock region, but if your pain increases, then stop.
Step 3: Strengthen the weak muscles to provide support for your hip and low back: The main reason we end up in pain is usually due to some type of weakness in the muscles, in this case the piriformis and gluteal muscles are affected. After your pain has calmed down, the next step is to slowly strengthen the area, so that you can improve the support of your hips and low back…and this will also prevent the pain from coming back. Here is one strengthening exercise that you can start with:
Simply lay on your side with your hips in neutral. Lift one leg up while keeping the knee bent, then slowly bring it down. Repeat 10 times, and try 2-3 sets on each side. As always, if you have pain with this, then stop the exercise.
Sciatica can be very disabling, limiting people from the activities that they truly enjoy doing. In a later blog post I will discuss the 3 main causes of sciatica, and how to get to the root cause of the problem.
I hope this helps! As always, if you have any questions or need any help finding a solution to your pain, feel free to reply to this blog post or give me a call!
Cheers to your health,
P.S. If you or someone you know has been dealing with low back pain or sciatica, I have an upcoming FREE workshop that will answer all of your questions! It’s on September 23, 2017.
To find out more details or to register, go to crossroadsopt.com, or call 480-772-7532
Hope to see you there!!
"We help active adults and athletes get back to doing the activities they love, without relying on painkillers or injections."
Shaheen Siddiqui, PT
Specialist Physical Therapist