Sciatica is defined as a sharp pain that spread from your back down to your legs. It is a very uncomfortable sensation, which is one of the most common problems, why patients regularly visit a Physical therapist. If you are one of those persons who has experienced this problem, then you come to the right place, for I will provide you very important information about Sciatica.
There are two causes why you might or other people have sciatica
1. Disc Herniation
One possible cause of Sciatica could be you might have Disc Herniation. It is defined as a condition in which there is a tear in the outer fibrous ring of the intervertebral disc, allowing a soft round gel called nucleus pulposes to bulge out beyond the damaged outer ring, which will then compress the spinal nerve producing pain.
2. Spinal Stenosis
Our spinal column is made up of 33 vertebrae bones, and each of these vertebrae bones contain a big space called spinal canal, above this picture that big round space is called spinal Trefoil canal. The reason why there is a space is because that is where the spinal nerve root is located. When you have arthritis or inflammation, your spinal canal is degenerating, causing decrease space in the spinal canal. And as you can see in the right picture, it will compress the spinal nerve root, producing sciatic pain.
One way to confirm this without depending MRI or X-ray is to use the stationary bicycle test that is found in the clinic or if you have one. This test is called Bicycle test of van Gelderen. In this test, you will be asked to pedal the stationary bicycle in two positions, with your “trunk straight or leaning back” and “leaning forward”. While you are pedaling the bicycle, your pain will start to spread down to your legs when your trunk is straight or leaning backward. But if you lean forward, your pain will start to relieve. This is a positive test for finding known as Neurogenic Claudication and this is present in Spinal Stenosis.
Just for you to know this is a Flexion biased, which your sciatica get worse when you bend backward but relieve when bending forward. Disc Herniation is completely the opposite of Spinal Stenosis.
3. Piriformis Syndrome
Another common condition why people have sciatica is because they might have Piriformis Syndrome. Piriformis is a deep muscle that is located in the gluteal region. What makes this special is that underneath this muscle, there is a nerve that passes through it called sciatic nerve. When you have piriformis spasm or tightness, this will start to compress the sciatic nerve producing sciatic pain.
This condition is also known as Fat Wallet Syndrome, because the pain got worse when you sit down with your large wallet in the affected side.
This is the most surprising for some women’s and I am sure most of you might not be aware of it. In some cases, pregnant can cause sciatica, because the weight of the fetus will press the sciatic nerve during sitting or when you have leg spasm. In here is the Good news and the Bad news, the good news is that it would not cause any harm to the mother or the fetus, but the downside is that there is no specifics exercise to relieve this pregnancy induced sciatica especially if you’re in 2nd or 3rd Trimester. It is highly suggested to start exercising when you are in 1st trimester to provide great support and relieve pain
When you have Sciatica, the only option to get rid of this condition is either Pain Killer or Surgery. And I am sure that none will want to spend a lot of money just to get surgically operated. Fortunately, The best way to help relieve this pain is through exercises, which there are three of them.
C. Piriformis Stretch
Notes: If you are expecting to have a symptom of sciatic, please do not ignore it and I highly recommended you to take it seriously, which you must seek medical consultation as soon as possible.