As most of you know, our office is distinct from most other chiropractic offices because we do not focus on symptoms. Rather, we focus on correcting structure so that the underlying cause of most symptoms is corrected, allowing those symptoms, known as Secondary Conditions in our office, so subside.
However, there are many instances in which someone will come in complaining of Secondary Conditions and often time, they are misinformed as to what they are actually dealing with. One of these such conditions is "Sciatica".
Sciatica is a condition that many people suffer from but it is not as common as you might think. In fact, I have yet to see someone come into the office complaining of "sciatica" while actually suffering from the condition. So what is all of the confusion about? What separates sciatica from the other conditions that it is so oftentimes confused with?
To understand what sciatica is, we must first understand what it is NOT.
It is NOT:
- Pain that shoots only into the buttocks
- Pain that is felt only in the low back
- Pain that is ONLY located below the knee or just in the foot
- Pain that shoots down one side of the low back and MUST go below the knee
- Often felt all the way into the foot
- Caused by 1 of two things
- A herniation (disc bulge) of one of the inter-vertebral discs in the low back
- Spasms or tightening of the Piriformis muscle
The majority of the time, people complaining of "Sciatica" only have pain that travels into the buttocks or into the thigh. This type of pain is not indicative of sciatica. Instead, it points to a much more common issue known as Facet Syndrome.
Facet Syndrome is caused by something that is becoming more and more known to be detrimental to our health. Sitting! Sitting puts constant compressive forces on our low backs. This pressure results in jamming of very sensitive joints in the spine called "facet joints". As these joints compress and undergo these stresses for prolonged periods of time, they begin to become inflamed. Inflammation causes pain. Since the inflammation is not affecting the nerve roots that exits the spine and go down the leg, it is only observed as local pain. This pain does not travel down the leg, but can go into the buttocks and even so far as down to the upper leg, but NEVER below the knee.
Structural Chiropractic encourages proper structural positioning of the spine. With proper spinal alignment, the body is able to withstand the compressive forces of sitting. However, the body can only adapt for so long until it starts to communicate to us that something is breaking down. It does this in the way of pain signals.
To combat the affects of sitting, and reduce the likelihood that you will experience the pain caused by Facet Syndrome, there are a few things you can do.
- Get up from your chair every 15-20 minutes and walk. This allows the spine and spinal muscles to relax, which takes the pressure off of the facet joints and allows new blood and nutrients into the area, removing inflammation that tends to build up while you are seated.
- Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day. Well-hydrated soft tissues, such as muscles, and ligaments, tend to withstand stress and forces well. Whereas dehydrated tissues tend to break down and become damaged under stress. This is particularly true with spinal discs.
- Exercise for at least 45 minutes per day to keep your spinal bones moving and the spinal joints well-lubricated and moving freely.
Call our office and come to one of our introductory presentations or schedule a Complimentary Consultation to find out more about Structural Abnormalities and how they might be affecting your health.
If you would like to have your nerve system checked for its Structural integrity, a consultation to discuss your concerns may be a great place to start. Find out where to go from here by contacting our office at 970-422-2032.