Archives 2016

Relief for sciatic nerve pain

Getting relief from Sciatic Nerve Pain becomes super important when you have this type of pain. The pain is generally one of the worst conditions of the lower back and the pain is very intense. The pain is described as a burning hot poker going down the back of the leg. I have seen the pain shoot a short distance into the upper thigh area or all the way to the foot. The sciatic nerve originates from the lumbar spine at levels L2 down to L5 and S1 or S2 segments. This nerve is about the size of your little finger, and carries impulses to the lower leg and foot. With sciatic pain, you can have numbness, weakness, or pain in the lower leg and foot. That pain could feel disconnected from the pain in the lower back.

In order to understand how to relieve sciatic pain, you need to know where the pain is actually coming from. There are several sources of impingement that can cause the sciatic type of pain. The first and most hazardous is a space occupying lesion in the low back.  A space occupying lesion in the lumbar neural canal can be a secondary cancerous tumor. Or it can be a disc bulge. Both of these possibilities need to be considered when dealing with sciatic pain. Another possibility is what has been called pseudo sciatica. This condition stems from the hip rotator muscle like the piriformis muscle. The sciatic nerve sometimes goes through the muscle belly of the piriformis can pinch the sciatic nerve. An easier condition to work with, but is no less painful for the patient.

Relieving Sciatica

Relieving the pain should begin with an examination by a physician trained in neuromuscular pain. A neurologist or orthopedist can easily order the tests (MRI) to diagnose the presence of a space occupying lesion (disc bulge or tumor). The chiropractic physician is also highly adept at identification of these types of lesions also. Chiropractors work with the spinal joints to relieve the pressure on a disc, or relieve the trigger points in the hip rotator muscles.

Your medical doctor will prescribe muscle relaxers and pain medications that can help reduce the spasm in the muscles. Then the body can heal the condition on its own. Home remedies include ice for inflammation, heat on the side of the pain to relieve muscle spasm, massage lower back or buttocks, or specific stretching exercises.

Sciatic Nerve pain can be extremely debilitating. If you are trying to relieve the pain with home remedies, try it but if they don’t give you results within a day, consult a physician to make sure it’s not a more serious problem. It has been said that this condition will resolve on its own in four to six weeks, but can you wait that long to get relief? Most chiropractors and orthopedic surgeons will look for the underlying source of the problem and not simply allow an adaptation of the body to bypass the damage that is done. Pain is present for a reason; please consult someone who can help you resolve the cause.

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Herniated or bulging discs

Defining Herniated or Bulging discs

A herniated disc and a bulging disc are the same on some levels and completely different on other levels.

A bulging disc is an inflamed disc and has a broader based outward expansion from its normal state. As the swollen fibers push outward, contact with nerves, the spinal cord, or bony structures occurs. As the inflammation spreads, the pain begins to encompass more tissues and nerves, transmitting more pain signals to the brain.

A herniation is more of a rupture that goes through the outer disc material and allows the nucleus of the disc to extrude outside of the disc margins. We see similarities between the two types of pain, though the compressed tissue makes a difference. The degree of inflammation plays a role in pain also. Herniation is a worse scenario to treat due to the openness of the disc nucleus to the outside. 35% of men and 45% of women having this pain at some point in their lifetime.

Causes of Herniation

These disc events happen most often with repetitive flexion stresses to the lower back or lower neck. One study (Adams & Hutton et al, Spine 1982) suggests that 28,000 repetitions of flexion are required to herniate a disc. If there is compression on the disc with flexion, fewer cycles are required to herniate a disc. Bending forward at the waist over a life time can cause this bulging or herniation. Most recently, we have been seeing an increasing problem with neck discs bulging due to working on screens for a long time.

Types

There are different types of herniations. The worst being the sequestered disc herniation. In this case the nucleus material pushes out, breaks away from the disc, and becomes a free floating mass. This mass is near the spinal canal and the only solution is surgical removal of the disc fragment.

The most frequent type of herniation has the nucleus material remaining attached to the disc. If we can take the pressure off the disc, the nucleus will draw back into its normal position. During this process we have to keep the inflammation down so healing can take place.

Main symptoms

Disc pain is characterized as a pain that radiates from the lower back into the leg. Disc pain from the neck radiates into the arm, or can go down the spine. A disc can be painful in and of itself. It will feel like a deep localized sharp pain which is more intense in flexion and relieved by extension.

This is a simplified look at disc herniation. The only true way to determine disc herniation is via advanced imaging techniques like MRI. Your chiropractic doctor works with these conditions and will be able to help you determine the next course of action.

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