What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is described as pain resulting from pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Also sciatic nerve is a nerve in the human body and is formed by the union of 5 nerve roots from the lower spine. It passes deep in the buttock muscles and also down to the back of the thigh all the way to the heel and sole of the foot. It is also a major nerve connecting the lower back to the leg.

This term ‘sciatica’  is a common word that many people use while truly not understanding what it is or what it might be. However some people immediately assume their back/leg pain means surgery.

What are some common myths about sciatica and what’s the truth of the matter?

Myth 1: All shooting leg pain is sciatica

Some people think they have sciatica and they point to their thigh or their low back and say that’s where they’re feeling pain but pain shooting down the back of their leg may not necessarily come from an area being compressed from the back. There are other things that can give people leg pain.

Myth 2: If you have sciatica, you should stay in bed and rest

It is better to remain active and avoid excessive rest. Studies have found that there is little to no benefit to staying in bed compared with staying active for people with sciatica

Myth 3: Sciatica is a condition

Sciatica is a symptom that may be caused by a number of conditions. Most people assume that if they have sciatica they’ve got a compressed nerve in their back. Sometimes people can have pain from muscles in the buttocks or posterior hip. For example; there’s an issue called piriformis syndrome, where people can get a tightness or irritation to the sciatic nerve that passes through the hip and down the leg. Sometimes just compression from that muscle could give them leg pain totally independent of what’s going on in the back.

Myth 4: We Don’t Know What Causes Sciatica

The fact is Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched or compressed. And also that typically is caused by a bulging or herniated disk between the vertebrae in the lower spine.

It can also be caused by a bone spur, or bony growth, on the spine itself or by spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal. In rare cases, a spinal tumor can compress the nerve, causing sciatic pain.

Myth 5:Medication is the best way to provide relief from sciatica

Taking an analgesic or an anti-inflammatory is a short-term treatment however, it doesn’t solve the cause of the pain.

Myth 6: Sometimes nothing helps sciatica

Sometimes one might be thinking that no cure or that nothing can be done to improve their symptoms. However, studies done have proved that interventions such as physical/manual therapy, chiropractic  ,physical training and even surgery can help to manage and alleviate the pain.

Myth 7: Sciatica Cannot Be Prevented

Physical activities that increase core strength and proper posture while working and when carrying out our daily activities have  been proven as ways/means to reduce the occurrence of sciatic pain.

Remember this “True prevention is not waiting for bad things to happen, it’s preventing things from happening in the first place”.

Every day health ,Kristen Fischer
Shane Mangrum, M.D. of Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center

Prepared  by:
Danson King’ori,
Physical Therapist
Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Health Centre

Sciatica Myths You Need To Know

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