Learning to differentiate the two most common types of back pain and how to help yourself.
Two Types of Back Pain
Many want to be self diagnosis’s from the internet lead to exercises or stretches not appropriate to the condition.
This post is aimed at helping you understand the difference between two very common types of sciatica and the best ways to ease both.
Sciatica (from the Spine)
Pain often presents down the back of the thigh caused by some kind of impingement on the nerve. Pain can be localised and go through the seat but generally the key is pain radiating down the back of the thigh.
Sciatica (from the seat)
Periformis Sciatica (from the periformis muscle in the seat)
Pain radiates down the side of the thigh and is often most tender in the seat.
The most useful pain difference:
Pain down the outside of the leg – most likely periformis sciatica
Pain down the back of the leg – most likely from the spine
What to do now?
Sciatica from the spine, this can get complicated but will most likely be helped by lying on your back with your legs supported and in the air. Please see, the 5 keys to pain relief or the brief article, ‘The easiest non Back exercise’ If you are unable to relieve and help the pain after lying down for 20 minute sessions then book in for an appointment and I will help you.
Sciatica from the periformis, This is caused by a tight muscle in the buttock or seat going into spasm or tightening, the chances are it was building up and you did something to make it go into spasm (the straw that broke the camels back).
This muscle and others of the buttock will need to be softened so use a wheat bag, hot water bottle etc (using ice will contract the muscle), perhaps warm this area through twice if you need to.
Once it has warmed through and if possible lying down on your back on the bed. Gently pull your knee over to your opposite shoulder.
For Pain in the right leg, pull the right knee over to your left shoulder.
For pain in the left leg, pull your left knee over to your right shoulder.
As you are pulling gently on the knee, push the knee away causing a little (yes little, no tugs of war here please) tension, hold the slight tension and breath in a big breath and let out a sigh (arrhhhh) and repeat.
The idea is to bring your knee very slowly over to the shoulder while causing a little tension by pushing the knee in the opposite direction. Lots of breathing and sighing should allow the muscle to release.
This will hopefully allow a little pain relief as the muscle relaxes away from the sciatic nerve but it will likely come back sooner or later. Don’t worry if it does because you have a way of releasing the muscle off the nerve and at least you’re out of pain. Should the pain not go away or keeps coming back, book in to see me and we’ll work together in getting you out of pain and work out why it is coming back. When we know why the pain is coming back we can change the root cause and stop it from coming back for good.
To a pain free life,