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Don’t Do THIS If You Have Sciatica!

Sciatica Pain

If you have been searching the interweb for ideas on how to treat your sciatica then chances are you have gotten some really bad advice.

You have probably already tried things that are recommended on-line for your sciatic pain that actually INCREASED your symptoms.

Which is depressing, frustrating, and leaves you in despair that there is anything that WILL help your sciatica pain to decrease (and, maybe, even go away?)

Dr. Amy has scoured on-line for the top advice regarding sciatica and feels your frustration. Today’s blog post will debunk the most commonly believed myths regarding what you should do about your sciatic pain. And, we will offer you ideas that will actually work!

#1 Heat Will Help Your Sciatica

Heat increases blood flow locally. So, you may be thinking that heat will help bring the needed nutrients to heal your sciatica. However, chances are that your sciatic nerve is already bathed in inflammation that has stagnated. If you heat this area it WILL increase blood flow...which leads to more inflammation.

More inflammation is bad. Very bad.

INSTEAD...use ice to decrease pain. Ice is a powerful pain inhibitor and can significantly reduce your sciatic pain. Simply place the ice on the area of pain for 3-5 minutes every hour. This will decrease your pain and muscle guarding which promotes healing.

#2 Rest For Sciatica

If you go to the doctor, they will most likely tell you to rest for a couple of weeks, take pain medication (which only masks the symptoms), and come back if you don’t feel better.

The problem is that in a couple of weeks you will probably feel worse because you haven’t moved at all. Motion is lotion and every tissue in your body is designed to heal itself as long as you are moving correctly.

Which is an important point – if you are not moving correctly, then you do need to rest. Usually in the first couple of days you do need to rest, move as much as you can pain free, and then rest again. You don’t want to “push through” the pain because this can actually increase your symptoms.

INSTEAD...find pain free movements you can do regularly throughout the day. Rest in between activities with an ice pack. Make sure to stay well hydrated.

#3 Stretch the Sciatic Nerve for Pain Relief

Please, don’t stretch the sciatic nerve. Nerves do not like to be stretched. They get irritated when they are stretched. So, why do you feel better initially after you stretch?

Stretching the sciatic nerve changes the signals that are being sent to the brain. Initially, this different signal tells the brain that something has changed and the brain thinks this change is good. However, stretching causes irritation and inflammation around the sciatic nerve which leads to increased pain over time.

INSTEAD...stretch the opposite side. Stretching the pain free hip or hamstring can actually help to draw the sciatic nerve away from the painful area. This will lead to decreased pain in your sciatic nerve.

#4 Self Traction for the Sciatic Nerve

You can self traction your sciatic nerve by lying over the edge of your bed or using an inversion table. While there is a time and place for these activities, a super hot sciatic nerve that is irritated by a herniated or ruptured disc is not it!

When the disc is ruptured or herniated performing self traction will irritate the disc. An irritated disc causes increased pressure and inflammation to the sciatic nerve. Although you will feel a relief of symptoms as you perform the self traction your symptoms will increase once your done due to the discal irritation.

INSTEAD...perform pain free rotation to help heal the disc. Rotation is the motion that helps the disc to receive the nutrition it requires for healing. However, as with anything that causes pain, too much of a good thing can still be too much. Keep rotation motions small and pain free.

#5 Strengthen Your Back To Heal the Sciatic Nerve

Exercises designed to strengthen your back put increased pressure on the discs and joints in your lower back. This causes increased compression to the joints and discs which is probably what started this problem in the first place.

Chances are that your back muscles are already tight. Tight muscles are not able to contract and relax the way they should. With exercise tight muscles only get tighter because they are not able to relax appropriately.

INSTEAD...perform abdominal contractions with your spine in a neutral position to gain support. Light abdominal contractions can lend support to your body which allows for pain free motions to occur.

#6 Do I Need Surgery to Eliminate Sciatica?

Most likely, NO! Surgery may be recommended if you have a joint that is increasing pressure on the sciatic nerve or a disc that is bulging/herniated into the sciatic nerve. Many people do get surgery when they have sciatica only to wake up and realize that their symptoms have not improved.

Even though the doctor says that the surgery was: Successful.

How does this happen?

The surgeon did indeed “fix” the problem that they set out to fix with the surgery. And, created a whole new set of problems including increased inflammation and decreased muscle control. It’s most likely that the root of your problem was the inflammation in the first place so you don’t get the relief that you were looking for. need to work with a Sciatica Specialist who can get to the root of this problem and figure out what caused it to start in the first place. A Specialist who can assess YOUR body and give you a plan to get back to the important activities in your life.

You want someone who is not going to give you a cookie cutter protocol they use for everyone who has sciatica. Because, the truth is that all our bodies are different and everyone has different goals. You need a program that is designed and targeted to help you achieve your desired outcomes.

If that sounds like you and you are tired of being passed off from person to person with no real answers to what is causing YOUR sciatica pain, then I encourage you to reach out and schedule one of our Free Discovery Visits. During this visit we will listen to your specific journey and help determine your next best step. If we are not the best people to help you then we will refer you to someone who can.

Our goal is to help you live a pain free, active, and confident life free from medication and surgery. If this is what you are looking for then feel free to schedule your Free Discovery Visit today.

Want to Know if You Have Piriformis Syndrome or Sciatica?

What Is The Best Sciatica Treatment?

Dr. Amy Konvalin

Dr. Amy Konvalin

Struggling with pain and dysfunction can impact every part of our lives — it drains our energy, distracts us from our goals, and keeps us from the people and activities we love. As an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist, Dr. Amy Konvalin understands how frustrating those limitations can be — and she knows how to help get you back to the life you want to live! Beginning with a focused evaluation, Dr. Amy works to determine the root causes of your pain, as well as understanding how it affects the way you move through your world. Dysfunctional patterns of movement often grow worse with time and cause further damage if left untreated — so it’s important to address these issues as soon as possible. Dr. Amy knows there is no one-size-fits-all plan for success, and she partners with patients to identify their unique treatment goals and personal values. Using these goals as a guide, Amy uses her doctorate training in manual (hands-on) therapy and exercise prescription to treat patients with a wide variety of medical challenges and histories throughout the Maple Valley, Black Diamond and Covington areas. Dr. Amy is also a wife to a Boeing superstar/former C-130 navigator. While they lived in Germany, Dr. Amy was able to volunteer with the US Army to treat military personnel and civilians on base. She has two beautiful teenage ballerinas who keep her on her toes and educate her on all things ballet! Bailey, the princess pup, is her running partner and her napping partner. In the spare moments in between, Amy enjoys reading, yoga, wine with friends, Pilates, and walking on the beach.
Dr. Amy Konvalin

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