Sciatica is a painful condition which is caused by a pinched nerve. This condition is characterized by an occurrence of debilitating pain and severe mobility problems.
Relieving Sciatic Nerve Pain
In some serious cases, it can lead to progressive weakness in the lower extremities, numbness in the upper thighs, as well as loss of bowel or bladder control.
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body. It begins in the lower part of the spinal column and extends through the buttock area down into the legs.
This is why sciatica causes pain that affects the entire lower body, typically occurring only on one side.
What Causes Sciatic Nerve Pain?
The most common cause of this condition is a herniated disc that presses on the sciatic nerve. Any irritation and pressure of the sciatic nerve can cause pain, including adjacent muscle, bone, or tumor.
Sometimes, however, a healthcare provider cannot determine the origin of the irritation or inflammation.
In many cases, the sciatic nerve pain is caused by a tight or misaligned muscle. The piriformis muscle extends from the front side of the sacrum through the pelvis to attach to the top of the femur, covering part of the sciatic nerve.
Since this muscle is woven through other muscles and bones, it can be easily missed when diagnosing sciatica.
When the piriformis muscle constricts the sciatic and other nerves in the gluteus, it causes piriformis syndrome. An osteopathic doctor, chiropractor, or competent massage therapist is aware that a misaligned piriformis may cause pain in the lower back and extremities.
In case the back pain results from the piriformis muscle rather than a herniated disc, it can be treatable without any surgery, pharmaceuticals, and physical therapy.
How to Treat Sciatic Nerve Pain?
Stretching can help you to relieve the constriction and tension, to decrease the inflammation and misalignment, and, therefore, to reduce the sciatic nerve pain. Here are two easy stretches that target the piriformis muscle:
1. Lie on the floor with the legs bent. Cross the affected leg over the other leg. Pull your lower knee up toward your shoulder.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, and then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise up to three times.
2. Lie down on your back with your legs flat. Pull the affected leg up to the chest. While doing so, hold the left knee with the left hand and grasp the ankle with the right hand.
Then, pull the knee towards the opposite leg. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds before returning to the initial position. Repeat this exercise three times a day.
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