Tag Archives: sciatica symptoms

Image depicts where the sciatic nerve can be compressed

The Sciatic Nerve

The sciatic nerve is vital to the functioning of your legs. The nerve is like the information highway for your sense of feeling and movement, connecting the nerve-endings of your leg’s skin and muscles to your brain.  

It is the longest, thickest nerve of your body. At its thickest point, it is about the width of your little finger. The nerve emerges from your lumbar area and sacrum and runs right down the leg. 

This is an excellent video showing how the nerve exits the spinal column and sacral area:

 

What causes sciatic nerve pain?

We experience sciatica when the sciatic nerve is compressed or inflamed. This is usually due to poor postural habits or excess muscular tension in our body. The pain starts where the nerve gets pinched; most often near the nerve’s base, around the pelvis and lumbar area. Here, the nerve can get sandwiched between muscle, bone or discs (between L4 right down to S5). 

The strong buttock muscles can also compress the nerve. A postural muscle called the ‘piriformis’ can squeeze the nerve when overly tensed. When this happens, the symptom may be called ‘Piriformis Syndrome‘. 

What causes pain in the sciatic nerve?

It’s a mistake to believe the nerve itself causes your pain. While the pain does, of course, come from the nerve, the nerve doesn’t cause pain because it’s ‘bad’ or in need of ‘treatment’.
We experience nerve pain when a nerve is compressed (or in very rare cases damaged).  In other words, the pain we get is just a symptom.  When we accept this, the next logical question is what is causing the compression.

Taking a step back to look at the bigger picture of you as a functional whole, we start to see that, excluding external factors, there are only three main ways to compress the nerve. Either muscular tension or some other tissue such as bone or disk.

In the majority of cases, the pressure is almost always down to how a person is moving or functioning in their daily life. A bulging disk may be pressing on the nerve, but again this leads us to ask — why would a disc bulge? This brings us back to muscle tension and unnatural body mechanics.

How I help people overcome pain in the sciatic nerve

By learning how to move more naturally, the way you did when you were a child, you can alleviate the imbalances, pressures and strains that generate excessive muscle tension. When you move in balance, your muscles and spine naturally decompress. Decompression means there’s more space around your sciatic nerve — it is no longer pinched, and the pain goes away.

In other words, unnatural movements can cause sciatic nerve pain, and re-learning how to move naturally is the solution.

For more information, or to book a consultation, please contact Andrew on 087-9387302. Or email andrew@amonaghan.net

Identifying the symptoms of sciatica

Sciatica Symptoms

How To Identify Sciatica’s Symptoms

Sciatica symptoms can be excruciating. During a flare-up, the feelings
can leave you isolated, out of work and crippled for up to 2 weeks at a time.

When people first experience sciatica, the symptoms can be weak and hard to identify. So here’s a quick run-down so you can identify the pain and can decide what’s the best course of action.

The most common sciatica symptoms include:

  • A radiating pain around the lower back.
  • The pain can also radiate down the back of the leg (it’s usually only felt on one side)
  • The pain can radiate down to the knee, as well as down the shin into the foot.
  • Symptoms can also include daring, shooting pain, pins and needles, a sense of numbness and in extreme cases, may cause a loss of bowel control.

What to do if you’re getting these symptoms

For the majority of sciatica and lower back pain sufferers, up to 99% of all cases are debilitating painful, but safe and harmless. I can help with these majority of cases. They are most often the result of poor movement habits that compress the spine or surrounding tissues,  forcing compression of the nerve or bulges a disk near the nerve, which then presses against the nerve and causes sciatic nerve pain.

However, for a small number of cases, about 1%, the cause of sciatica can have more serious underlying issues. For this reason, you should consult a medical professional to rule out more serious issues before seeking alternative sciatica treatment.

However, if you are diagnosed with something like a bulging disk or ‘non-specific mechanical back pain’ which is compressing your nerve, you are usually better off with treatment such as Alexander Technique. If this is the result of your scan, it is not something to be worried about (You can read more about why you shouldn’t worry about non-specific back pain).

If you have non-threatening symptoms, a good doctor will likely advise you against drugs or surgery. The research shows that painkillers do not work for sciatica. And surgery does not provide long-term relief.  

In other words, you are much better off tackling the root cause of sciatica, which is usually down to how you move and operate in your daily life.

How I can help

I work by helping you identify and correct unnatural movement habits (how you bend, how you sit, how you sleep, how you stand, etc.).

To further discuss your own case or to book a consultation, please contact Andrew on 087-9387302. Or email andrew@amonaghan.net