Pain does not discriminate, we all fall victim to it at some point in our life. Until that point happens, we tend to live in a state of ignorance, because learning about pain is irrelevant to our life. Why know about something that does not affect us? Well, knowledge is not only power, it is also a form of preventative maintenance. It’s like telling your child not to touch the hot stove top because they will get burned. We do this to prevent a problem in the future. We give our child the knowledge (or the power) to make a wise decision when entering the kitchen and someone is cooking – don’t touch the stove top! As we get older, we should not stop there. Educating ourselves on various health issues and performing preventative maintenance helps us to live in wellness. We then have the power to know what to do when a situation, like pain, presents itself rather than living with it. We can get back to good health because we have the knowledge to do something about it.
Sciatica or sciatic pain is something many of us have heard of, yet still may not fully understand. The purpose of this post is to shed more light on this common source of pain, especially in older adults, so action can be taken sooner versus later. The sciatic nerve is the major nerve extending from the lower end of the spinal cord down the back of the thigh, and dividing above the knee joint, where it then supplies the entire area of the lower leg, ankle and foot. It is the largest nerve in the human body. But what can affect the sciatic nerve and cause pain:
- A Lumbar Herniated Disc
- Degenerative Disc Disease (breakdown of the discs which act as cushions between the vertebrae)
- Isthmic Spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebrae slips over another)
- Lumbar Spinal Stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back)
- Piriformis Syndrome
- Sacroiliac Joint Disfunction (improper movement of the joints at the bottom of the spine that connect the sacrum to the pelvis)
In addition to pain, other symptoms can present themselves if the sciatic nerve is affected like tingling, numbness, pressure, muscle spasms or cramping anywhere in the leg, and a prickly sensation that radiates down the leg. Leg or foot weakness can also occur as well as a burning sensation. Some may confuse pain, tingling, numbness, etc. of the hip, leg, knee, or foot pain coming from those respective areas. In actuality, it is possible that it is originating from pressure or irritation on the sciatic nerve in the low back. The good news is that sciatic nerve pain can be corrected. A Doctor of Chiropractic can treat with decompression therapy, spinal adjustments, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), deep tissue massage, myofascial release techniques, and stretching.
You do not need to live with sciatic nerve pain. And now that you know what it feels like and what causes it, you can take the necessary steps to correct it if it should it ever become an unwelcome guest in your life.