Sciatica – Intense Pain in the Buttocks & Down the Leg
Sciatica is often confused as being a disease. However, it is actually a symptom of a disease commonly understood as compression of the sciatic nerve. This is mainly caused by a slipped or herniated (bulging) disc. Sciatic pain usually radiates from the lower back via one of the of buttocks, along the path of the sciatic nerve down the leg to the toes. Pain can be excruciating and can worsen on exertion. In severe cases, the lower back can also get “locked” in a sideways bending position.
Many other conditions can create this type of intense pain, since any number of nerves can become impinged or compressed by deep layers of soft tissue near the spine and in the buttocks, by mis-alignments of the spine, imbalances in the muscle groups (such as anterior muscles creating tension on posterior gluteal tissue and surrounding nerves) or fascial adhesions in the hip joint capsule. This can create similar symptoms (radiating pain, numbness, tingling). These conditions – much more common than true sciatica – involve compression of the peripheral sections of the sciatic nerve and are often equally painful and intense. Tension in the soft tissue of the piriformis, gluteal and other related muscles is usually the cause behind it.
Activities that can cause this condition are :
- Sitting or standing for long periods
- Protruding the head for peering at the computer screen
- Sitting with a wallet in the back pocket
- Sleeping in a fetal position
- Driving (holding the foot on the car accelerator- which immobilizes the gluteal muscles)
Psoas minor and major are two muscles of the abdomen and pelvis that flex the trunk and rotate the thigh. These muscles are continually shortened by sitting for long periods in a reclined position in sloping chairs or sleeping in a fetal position. Tension in these muscles can activate trigger points in the opposing gluteal muscle group (muscles in the buttocks) causing sciatica-like pain.
The standard treatment for pseudo sciatica is similar to sciatic nerve treatment with more emphasis on stretching exercises, anti-inflammatory drugs and massages. Sciatica alternative remedies like clinical massages, yogic exercises, chiropractic manipulations and homeopathic treatment can play a pivotal role in treating pseudo-sciatica. All treatment is followed by correcting faults in the gait of the patient and occupational positions.
Recent studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals have confirmed that Therapy (Massage) combined with corrective exercises produces better long outcomes than surgery. A clinically trained massage therapist can support and hasten the work of a Dr., Physical Therapist, Rehabilitative Specialist, Chiropractor or other health professionals by restoring the health and balance of soft tissue in the body and reducing pain and inflammation. So don’t make the mistake of relying on exercises (PT) alone. Get out of pain and stay out of pain by integrating the help of a skilled Massage Therapist.
Curious about the science behind massage? This article explains how massage actually works to reduce inflammation: