Sciatic Nerve Pain
Radiating pain down the leg is a very common condition and is
often considered to be caused by a condition known as sciatica.
This can be a sharp or steady pain, but the general feature of it is that it feels as if the pain travels in a
straight line from the back or buttocks and heads down the back of the leg. Pain can even shoot all the way down
into the feet. In order to get sciatic nerve pain relief, it's important to understand what is causing the pain in
the first place.
Sciatica takes after many painful lower back conditions in that the diagnosis of it is incredibly unhelpful. You
see, due to the lack of treatments that can result in sciatic nerve pain relief, doctors tend to simplify the
diagnosis as sciatica.
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What sciatica really means is pain associated with the sciatic nerve. The problem with this is that the
diagnosis of sciatica alone does not tell us why the nerve is painful, but I digress. Before we go any further,
let's examine what the sciatic nerve really is.
The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the human body. It services most of the lower extremity and is
made up of nerve fibers from the L4 through S3 level. In other words, pieces of 5 different nerve roots contribute
to the sciatic nerve.
If you are following my logic, that means a disruption at any of these 5 discs is liable to interfere
with sciatic nerve pain relief.
To make things more confusing, the sciatic nerve pierces the piriformis muscle in some people (but not
So, of the people who have sciatic nerve pain and have a nerve that runs through the piriformis muscle, there pain
might be caused by this muscle being tight. However, there are no guarantees, which makes sciatica incredibly
difficult to treat.
In short, your sciatica can result from a herniated disc, a tight piriformis muscle, spondylolisthesis, or a
variety of other conditions. Most approaches trying to achieve sciatic nerve pain relief are conservative.
This is simply because it is very hard to narrow down the cause of sciatica.
If your sciatica has been bothering you for an extended period of time, odds are some sort of movement based
therapy will be of the most benefit. Unfortunately, our modern physical therapy system (as you have probably
experienced by now) tends to be quite ineffective.
Odds are your therapist just doesn't have enough time to spend with you to show you the exercises nor does he or
she have the skill set. It's not really their fault though; insurance companies only give each physical therapist a
few minutes to spend with each patient and the physical therapy schools (at least in the United States) continue to
teach antiquated techniques.
It's no surprise the physical therapy industry is considered intellectual backwater and continues to be one of the
most criticized health fields.
Don't get me wrong, if you are seriously injured, there is no better country to be in then the United States!
Our surgeons and physical therapists are top notch when it comes to putting broken people back together.
With that said, the treatment of chronic pain conditions (as sciatica tends to be) leaves much more to be desired.
Most people just don't get significant sciatic nerve pain relief from physical therapy or surgery.
I explain why sciatica and other chronic pains can be so difficult to treat in my 6-part e-mail
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pain, neck pain, or sciatica running your
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