Sciatica is not something you ever want to experience, trust me, this is from personal experience. While It is a common cause of low back pain and disability, few actually understand what sciatic nerve pain is.
The sciatic nerve is one of the largest nerves in your body – it is the blending of the nerves from the lumbar and sacral plexus (lumbar nerves 4, 5, and sacral nerves 1, 2 & 3). It runs from your lower back, down through the buttocks and down the back of the leg, where it splits into two nerves at the back of the knee. Think of it like an extra long data cable that runs from your spinal cord to your toes.
One of my more significant injuries was when I tweaked my back with the very common bend and twist (it was a perfect reason why you should train in all of the weird positions so the one time it counts is not the time you’re injured). I instantly felt searing pain in my lower back but I was at work, so I slapped some ice on it and went home when my shift was over.
It wasn’t until I began to wake up with intense pain on the outside of my foot a week later that I began to worry. There had been no injury to my foot, which meant this new pain a big red flag. I was experiencing sciatic nerve pain, which can manifest as pain anywhere along the length of the sciatic nerve.
When the sciatic nerve is entrapped or irritated at any point along it’s length, it can cause pain. It can happen if any of the branches off the spinal cord are entrapped from stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal where nerves pass through) or compressed by a bulging disk. It can also occur in the buttocks, as the sciatic nerve passes very closely to the piriformis. In some people, the sciatic nerve passes directly through the piriformis, which can be a problem if the piriformis is in spasm. The tension of this deep buttock muscle can cause create irritation as it rubs on the sciatic nerve, leading to sciatic nerve pain (also referred to as Piriformis Syndrome).
Check out my video below where I show on Skelly Kapowski where the sciatic nerve is and a simple massage technique you can do to ease sciatica.
What’s the best way to ease sciatica and sciatic nerve pain symptoms? Get up and out of your chair as often as possible! Sitting does nothing to help the health of your lower back and hips, so try to stand and walk at least once every hour.
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