Sciatica is the name given to irritation of the sciatic nerve running from the low back, down the back of the pelvis through the buttock and down the back of the leg to the foot. Low back pain can be an ache across both sides of the low back, or sometimes a sharp pain through one side of the lower back or pelvis, often on movement.
Symptoms of back pain and sciatica can include:
- Pain ranging from an ache to severe pain levels
- Limited movement
- Difficulty carrying out day to day activities involving bending, lifting and twisting
- Difficulty turning over in bed or getting in and out of a chair
- Pain, numbness and tingling radiating from the lower back down one leg to the toes
- Weakness of the calf and foot muscles
Key aggravating factors
Frequently the causes of back pain and sciatica are a combination of factors that occur day to day for months and sometimes years. These could include repetitive bending and twisting movements, lack of movement entirely (e.g. desk job), periods of high stress and tension or unusual activities. When enough factors are present they create the ‘perfect storm’ for an injury to occur.
Chiropractic quick tips
When experiencing low back pain, taking a flexible ice pack, wrapping it in kitchen roll or a tea towel to avoid ice against the bare skin and applying it to the central low back (think trouser belt level) for 10 mins 5-6 times a day can be good at relieving pain in the joints.
Trouble sleeping? Laying on your side with both knees bent and a pillow between the knees can help you sleep more comfortably. In the morning avoid lifting straight up from your middle, turn onto one side and push up to avoid putting pressure on the low back.
Stay active. As much as you want to sit or lie still when you are in pain, this will prolong your recovery and can sometimes make mechanical back issues worse. Moving every 30 minutes is therefore a good idea to get the muscles to let go and enable easier movement.
Chiropractic can help!
Many back issues are caused by the joints and muscles not working together efficiently. Chiropractic treatment aims to improve the mechanics, loosening tight joints and muscles, reducing the tension and improving the efficiency and quality of movement. We also look at the factors that will have contributed to the injury, aiming to manage the current injury recovery process as well as prevent future injury.