Before we go on to discuss what causes sciatica, we need to define what sciatica actually is.
Sciatica literally means ‘leg pain’ and refers to pain which radiates from your lower back and down your leg along your sciatic nerve. Many of our clients seek our help because of its disabling effects.
Think of a hosepipe that has a pinch which is preventing the water flow. The symptom is that water is not coming out of the tip, but the pinch could be anywhere along the length of the pipe.
The pipe in your case is a nerve called the sciatic nerve which exits the spine at the level of your lower back and sacrum and travels down your leg to your foot. The pinch is an obstruction somewhere along the nerve – like the bulging disc shown in the picture. However, the effect is felt in your leg. The worse the interference to the nerve is, the worse and further down the leg the symptoms are felt.
Where is the problem?
Usually, people think the problem is coming from the lower back but, this is not always the case. As mentioned above, the pinch could be anywhere along its length. It is usually pinched at the point of exit from the spine or as it passes between the piriformis muscles in your buttock. When this happens, the ‘flow’ in the nerve is blocked. This causes a problem in receiving information (in the brain) and sending information out to the muscles (and other structures).
The most common symptoms are burning pain, shooting pain, weakness, numbness, and pins and needles.
The most important part of diagnosing the issue is to rule out serious disease which can cause sciatica. This includes cancer, infection, fracture, tumours, etc. Thankfully this is rare and the most common reason for the pinching is a bulging disc, muscle tightness or arthritis.
A GP will typically give you drugs for the symptoms (the pain) but this does not tackle the problem.
A good therapist will treat the site of the pinching, but this only sometimes provides relief, often it does not help and sometimes makes the problem worse.
There must be something missing in their understanding of what causes sciatica?
We have found another mechanism which greatly contributes to the problem that is being overlooked by almost all health professionals. Research done by a surgeon called Alf Brieg has shown that nerves stretch like an elastic band when the body moves.
If your bones are misaligned so that you are now in a posture that increases nerve tension, your body can find itself in a position where there is excessive stretch occurring on the spinal cord and nerves. This, in turn, pulls the nerves around a pinched point, greatly increasing the amount of pinching that happens. Excessive stretching of a nerve can also mimic pinching as the nerve gets thinner as it stretches (like an elastic band).
This combination of stretching and pinching both need to be addressed to improve the condition. We have also shown that disc prolapses heal faster when the physical stress at the disc is reduced.
Advanced BioStructural Correction Treatment for Sciatica
Our Advanced BioStructural Correction method is the best method I have found to simultaneously:
- reduce nerve tension.
- reduce stress at the level of the pinch.
- improve overall body function.
- help heal disc prolapses quicker.
Correcting the alignment of the bones in the body, corrects your posture and returns stresses to normal. So, what we do is improve your posture, to give all your nerves slack.
When your nerves have slack (like they are meant to), bulging discs, etc do not pinch as much, meaning rapid symptom relief. This process works for pinched nerves in the neck as well – which usually make your arm and hand hurt, go numb and weak too. This method is targetting the most common whats causes sciatica.
Improving your posture, also means that we will be helping muscle ache/tightness, disc health, balance, strength, mobility and flexibility at the same time – win-win!
Did you know that the area that creates the most nerve tension is at the top of your neck – that’s nowhere near your leg! This is why a doctor may perform a test called “slump test” to assess this tension. We find that when we correct the posture at the base of your neck and between your shoulders, pain relief can be experienced almost immediately. It can take longer if there is severe stretching, scar tissue or disc/arthritic damage. So, remember that everything is connected and to find the truth you always must dig a little deeper.
Sciatica and Osteoarthritis
We have also found that osteoarthritis (the wear and tear that happens to your joints as you age), is also greatly affected by bone misalignment. We have found that joints that are overworked due to misalignments wear out much faster than your body can repair them. This results in bone scar tissue which is an excessive growth of bone around a joint leading to aching, stiffness and which can also pinch nearby nerves which is what causes sciatica.
Advanced BioStructural Correction has been shown is case studies to help return osteoarthritic joints back towards a normal appearance and function – another way in which this method helps sciatica. We see this happening in our clinic all the time.
Our method means that it is rare that you would need to go for a nerve root injection or surgery and we have helped many people quickly become symptom-free.
An Example of Sciatica Treatment with Advanced BioStructural Correction
This person had severe sciatica to the point that they had lost all strength in their ankle (this is called a foot drop). They were in a lot of pain and part of their lower leg and foot was numb.
This is an MRI scan of their lower back. You can clearly see a large disc prolapse, bulging into the spinal canal. This is where it was pressing on the nerve. This is commonly what causes sciatica.
This is an MRI scan of the same person six months later. The bulge is virtually gone and their symptoms of numbness, weakness and pain had also gone too.
What Causes Sciatica?
So to recap:
- Sciatica is the result of excessive pinching or stretching of the sciatic nerve which begins in the lower back and travels down your leg to your toes.
- Most professionals only consider the pinching that occurs from a bulging / prolapsed disc, pinching from muscles or arthritis.
- Advanced BioStructural Correction improves the condition of discs, reduced muscle tension, improves joint health and reduces nerve tension.
- A full understanding of what causes sciatica a complete treatment program is needed to give you the best chance of recovery.
Get in touch with us today to see how we could transform your life too.
- Level 3 ABCP, ENCC, MABC-I, MABC-E
- Registered Advanced BioStructural Correction Practitioner™
- Registered EndoNasal Cranial Correction™
- Associate Member of the Royal Society of Medicine
Find out more about Advanced BioStructural Correction here.
You can also find out more here too!