Tag Archives: Chronic Pain

How To Get Rid of Sciatica Pain

If you suffer from sciatica pain it is because the sciatic nerve is compromised. The sciatic nerve starts in the lower back and goes down along the back of the leg. So when the nerve is affected, pain can occur either in the low back or the back of your thigh. Sciatic pain usually only happens on one side, but it can occasionally affect both legs. 

The pain caused by sciatica can vary greatly. According to patients it can range from a mild dull ache to unbearable and excruciating pain. 

Several things can cause pressure on the sciatic nerve. A herniated disc for example will press against the sciatic nerve. Or bone spurs on the vertebrae can also press on the nerve. 

But sitting for long periods of time is often the biggest culprit for causing sciatic pain. Inactivity and sitting can be detrimental to our health in many ways. But the sciatic nerve is particularly sensitive to inactivity, as we actually sit on the nerve directly. 

Our lower backs have increased pressure when we sit down, and this compresses the sciatic nerve. We also rarely sit in the correct position. Even if we have ergonomic chairs and are aware enough to sit with good posture, remaining in the same position for long periods of time can still be detrimental. Our bodies are designed to move. 

For example when we sit in front of our computer screens, we often hold our heads in the same position for a long time, and this negatively affects our posture and back alignment. 

As the sciatica nerve begins in the lower back you could be forgiven for thinking the neck cannot be linked to the sciatic nerve. But upper cervical misalignment can be the cause of pain in the sciatic nerve. Our whole spines are connected with soft tissue that can cause pain anywhere along the spine. So even when the neck is misaligned or any of the soft tissue is damaged, this can cause pain in the lower back. 

The most common age group of people who suffer from sciatica is age 35 – 55. Being a smoker, being overweight or having a demanding manual job can also increase the likelihood of suffering sciatica pain. Also people with diabetes are more likely to be affected by sciatica.

So what is the solution?

Long term solutions include losing weight, giving up smoking and getting a physically less demanding job. 

Shorter term solutions include increasing your overall health by being more active. And to take regular breaks from sitting, especially sitting at a computer. 

I personally only ever suffer sciatica when I have not been walking or active for several days. And that only happens these days if I am too ill to go out. So thankfully, hardly ever. 

As well as walking every day, I also do my exercise videos, even if only for ten minutes a day. And I can happily report that I never get sciatic pain in these conditions. 

There are a few stretches that effectively treat sciatica. Don’t be tempted to do any of them without first having a substantial warm-up. And I would recommend being gently active for several days before attempting any kind of stretches if you have been inactive at all recently.

Once you have become more active over a few days, then a hamstring stretch is good for the sciatic nerve because it stretches the whole of the back of the leg and buttocks. I do this stretch every day, as it’s also great for the lower back, so if you have lower back pain or sciatica, this is a great stretch to do. 

The full version is to stand upright, then bend over as far as you can. If you cannot bend over very far, then put one foot more forward than the other, put your weight on the leg further back, and bend the knee of this leg. Now rest both hands just above the knee of the bent rear leg, and bend your top half over as far as you can to stretch the hamstring of the leg the leg you have in front. 

This also stretches the lower back and buttocks. And by making a small change, you can also stretch the calf muscle. Stay in the same position, but lift just the toes of the front leg off the floor, so you have your heel on the floor and your foot is upright. This stretches the low back, buttocks, hamstring and calf. This is a great all round stretch that I recommend every day after a good warm up of course. 

Regardless of the initial cause of your sciatica, if you are even a little bit active, don’t sit too long at once and do this stretch every day, you will definitely notice a reduction in sciatic pain, and possibly eliminate it altogether.

As Your Fear Grows, So Too Will Your Pain

Do you associate a particular activity with back pain? Or other chronic pain?

Perhaps every time you walk, you have pain. Or when you sit or stand.

I found an interesting site by Eddie who does yoga. He has also discovered that the mind is responsible for a lot of your pain and for making it worse. His teacher told him that the mind always wants to make a big drama out of everything.

In another post The Turning Point, he talks about Dr John Sarno’s book Healing Back Pain, and says that after he read the part about associating a particluar activity with pain, he was able to take measures to prevent it happening in the future. The activity that triggered his pain was sitting. He had spent days avoiding sitting! Imagine how hard that must have been.

But the turning point of the title was when he used affirmations and communicated to his unconscious mind the way Sarno suggests, and it worked. He told himself he was well, and had nothing to fear. He reminded himself by putting up notes all over his house!

Now, that is the sort of stuff you should be doing! – Not complaining about the pain and reaffirming to yourself that you are unwell. Remember, the body cannot heal itself when it is under stress. Don’t add to the stress by telling yourself you are in pain and never going to get better.

It is possible to get better, and these change in attitude and behavior are the first step.


Does Acupuncture Work For Your Back Pain?

acupuncture for back painMy ex neighbor had acupuncture every two weeks for over ten years, and claimed it relieved her arthritis right up until her death at age 77.

I peronally tried acupuncture myself about 12 years ago, and although it was relaxing and didn’t hurt at all, it did not relieve my back pain. I thought I had given it a good chance to work, by going three times, but I can’t say it made a difference.

But everyone is different and many thousands of people swear by it. I can certainly understand the option to want to heal yourself naturally, rather than use medication.

The needles used release endorphins, the body’s own pain killers, and how many of these endorphins are released will vary from person to person.

Another elderly lady who recommends acupuncture is 80 year old Texan, Roberta Land, who has been showcased at TylerPaper.com. See Coshandra Dillard’s article; Acupuncture: Precise Points, Body Balance for more information.

Photo by ~ggvic~