Kim Brown Sports Massage Therapist at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic Eastbourne, talks about Sciatica.
How Common is Sciatics Type Pain?
Almost every week we see people who’re suffering with sciatica. For many people, sciatica is the first thing they think of when they have a feeling of restriction or pain in the hips or down the back of the thigh, knee or calf. A range of problems can cause these symptoms. not all are sciatica and not all types of sciatica are the same.
Here at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic in Eastbourne we see and treat many patients with sciatica symptoms. You can find out more about Sciatica and other conditions by using the search box on our Chiropractic blog site backblog.
The Nerves Exiting Between the Vertebra: Ask Your Chiropractor for More Information
What is Piriformis Syndrome and Sciatica?
Conditions affecting the sciatic nerve that refer pain down the posterior thigh are referred to by most non-medical professionals as Sciatica. This term is not specific, because it may refer to inflammation of the nerve or compression of the nerve in the lumbar spine, in the gluteal muscles or at another point along the nerve pathway in the body.
However, pain in the buttock and referring to the upper leg can also be due to piriformis trigger points. The piriformis muscle attaches around the hip and low back, under the gluteal muscles. The piriformis muscle can compress or squeeze the sciatic nerve to cause ‘ piriformis syndrome’.
Classic Signs of Piriformis Syndrome:
- Numbness in the posterior thigh, calf or sole of the foot.
- Can cause painful intercourse for women and impotence in men
- Buttock pain if the gluteal nerve is compressed
- Active trigger points in the piriformis result in pain in the low back, buttocks, hip and posterior thigh.
- Sitting for prolonged periods can increase pain.
- Excessive activity can aggravate the pain
- Weakness in performing abduction, flexion and internal rotation.
What is the Piriformis? Why is the Sciatic Nerve Important?
The Piriformis is a hip rotator muscle which sits deep to the Gluteus Maximius. If it contracts and shortens it creates outward rotation of the hip. It rarely performs this action in normal everyday activities though as it’s main function is to control and prevent inward rotation, or the knee rolling inwards. Injury of the piriformis can occur during running or when there is excessive pronation (rolling in) of the foot and the muscle has to repeat its preventative task thousands of times.
The Sciatic nerve supplies sensory and motor function to the skin and muscles of the posterior thigh, most of the leg and the foot. In a small proportion of the population, the sciatic nerve passes through the belly of the piriformis muscle and can get caught up in a piriformis injury and create further symptoms and problems.
Sciatic nerve restriction can occur in those with Lumbar spine issues. But soft tissue tension compressing the vertebrae or fibrous adhesions that restrict the nerve as it passes through the soft tissues can also be the cause of pain. In this instance, your sports massage therapist is who you need to see to reduce the compression treating trigger points and a reduction in piriformis hypertonicity.
How Did this Happen to Me?
Apart from the obvious overuse injuries which can occur during running Piriformis syndrome can begin at any time with normal everyday activities. If there are biomechanical issues like weakness on one side in the glutes and other muscles in the hips, a compensation pattern can start putting strain on the piriformis muscle. Regular exercise throughout your life can help you to avoid injuries. Too much time sitting or repetitive bending and lifting can also cause symptoms.
With sciatic nerve restriction in the lumbar spine may be the result of a fall or an accident during lifting a weight that is awkward or too heavy. This type of compression is more serious.
How can I help myself ?
Regular stretching and mobilisation using a resistance band can ease the compression. Strengthen weakened muscles. A tennis ball/spikey massage ball is used on the gluteal and piriformis trigger points.
Lushington Chiropractic Clinic is based in Eastbourne. We’re right in Eastbourne Town Centre, with our own off-street parking.
Want to find out more about sciatica?
If you’ve enjoyed this blog and would like to find out more, then please check out one of our other blogs on Sciatica below.
By James Revell
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