At Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre we see a fair amount of Sciatic pain.
Dr. Andrew Arnold says, ‘the Sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body both in length and diameter and responsible for a large proportion of back pain.’
Imagine a whiteboard marker, that’s what we’re talking about!
It is also one of the few nerves on the outside of the body. Think about it! Most of nerves and arteries and other sensitive structures are on our front. This is because we are best able to protect if they are front based. Again if you imagine being threatened or startled what do you do first…you flex everything, sometimes to the extreme of forming a ball! You don’t jump into a starfish stance right?
Another example is the ulnar nerve, you know that pain you get when you knock your funny bone.
The Sciatic nerve exits out of the pelvis and passes between, under and over a number of ligaments and muscles in the gluteal region. It then passes down the back of the thigh before dividing at the knee and then enervating the leg and foot.
The Sciatic nerve originates from 5 vertebral levels! L3-5 and S1-2. This means 5 nerves become one.
So True sciatica refers to pain caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve and this can originate from many sources, namely a lumbar disc problem, ligament sprain or muscle strain.
I say ‘true’ sciatica because often times sciatica is used incorrectly to refer to leg pain associated with low back or gluteal pain from other sources, e.g. a muscle may refer along the sciatic region.
In general, however, sciatica refers to leg pain associated with low back pain.
So what to do?
Firstly see your Chiropractor! You need an accurate diagnosis so the cause can be addressed.
Commonly, sciatica is caused by a simple muscle cramp irritating the nerve however, less commonly a disc problem is involved.
You need to know what’s going on.
So before you start stretching get straight down to your practitioner of choice and work out a plan.
About the author:
Dr. Andrew Arnold is a Chiropractic Doctor, and Owner, Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre.