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Seventy and Suffering with Sciatica

Image shows Sports Therapist Ryan Keats standing outside of Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne to accompany his blog on Sciatica.

October 16th, 2018 97 post views

Susan’s Story

I recently saw this lovely lady from Eastbourne who’d been suffering with sciatica after a fall. I asked her if it would be ok to share her story as a Blog for Lushington Chiropractic. The reason I wanted to share her story was because I see so many older people at Lushington Chiropractic who’ve been suffering with sciatic issues and don’t realise that there are various treatment options available.

She has agreed to me sharing her story, though she does not wish to be named. For this blog, she will be named Susan.

As the title gives away, Susan is an Eastbourne local in her seventies. Susan came to me after a referral from her husband who had successful chiropractic sessions with us here at Lushington Chiropractic. She’s a fit, active lady who runs three times a week along our beautiful Eastbourne coastline. However, when Susan started to run, a pain had been shooting down her right leg. The pain generally got a bit better with rest.  It got so bad she had stopped running, with a 10k run just weeks away, she had to do something. The Word Sciatica had been the most obvious answer to her after having a chat with friends and family, and even after visiting her local GP!

How could we help

After assessing Susan by using some special tests, using touch and testing some of the muscles around her hip, it became quite clear that what was more likely was muscular referral, rather than a nerve compression. What was also interesting, was that her right leg was as much as 2 centimetres longer than the left.

This is quite common in these cases where you want to avoid standing on the leg that gives you pain, so you compensate by over using the muscles on the left, which can raise the leg somewhat. Furthermore, compensating in this manner can increase your chances on developing muscular referral in the other leg. Referring to our mission here at Lushington Chiropractic, It is important for me to not only treat the problem, but the cause of the problem too.

What we did to help

Image shows Sports Therapist Ryan Keats standing outside of Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne to accompany his blog on Sciatica.

Sports Therapist Ryan Keats

I started treatment by using no-hands general massage through the thighs, hips and back. This allows me to glide deeper through the muscular structure, warming and stretching all the areas of tension. I then used a technique I regularly use, called the trigger point technique. This technique involves placing a certain amount of force (within our pain limit), on to a particularly tight area to manually relax taut bands of muscle which have stayed contracted over a certain period of time-  these areas can create a referral, otherwise known as a trigger point. We got instant feedback from Susan. She had felt a ‘sciatic, shooting feeling’ that refers all the way down to the shin. Susan felt like I’d hit the spot with it as ‘that is exactly the sort of pain I am getting throughout the day’. The muscle I was holding was one of the gluteal muscles, specifically the Gluteus Medius. Trigger point therapy can involve pain but should NOT be extremely painful or torturous. For this reason, I use a pain scale of 0-10. The pain should not go above a 7. To finish the session, I worked on the leg length. For this I used a Pulse ball, which sends deep signals through tissue, creating a loosening effect. I applied this to the side of the left leg to warm and loosen the glove that surrounds the muscle called fascia. This, alongside the massage, helped to decrease the discrepancy to just below 1cm!

How did Susan feel?

Susan rose from the massage couch and felt like she had been immediately ‘cured’. I explained that one session a week for 5 weeks will be needed here at Lushington Chiropractic, to be pain free, and in a good shape to run her Eastbourne 10k. She was delighted to hear that I was confident of her recovery and that she could potentially run her 10k, given that she followed our advice and prescribed exercise plan.

A week later and sure enough, Susan came in to treatment with a similar pain and reported a couple of days relatively pain free following last week’s appointment. A similar treatment followed that day and four weeks on, Susan is seventy, completing her 10k run and NOT suffering with sciatica.

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