Have you ever experienced a striking pain down your leg so severe that it stops you dead in your tracks? It may have started insidiously as an achy back that went ignored or maybe just a “pain in the butt” that you didn’t have time to see the doctor for. It didn’t occur to you at the time that these nagging aches and pains could grow into a much bigger problem OR that they could even be related.
We often find that leg pain descends from nerves in the low back. This type of condition is often diagnosed as “Sciatica”. It commonly strikes people in their 50’s and the pain can be so paralyzing that simply walking a few steps or standing barely 5 minutes is nearly impossible. I’ve even heard people say, “I wouldn’t wish this on their worst enemy!”.
Usually around the fifth decade, the spine starts experiencing normal age-related changes. This tends to happen with the discs, which are located between the vertebrae and filled with a jelly-like fluid. They offer mobility, cushioning and height to the spine. Over time, the spine is prone to wear and tear and some of the fluid dries up. Depending on the severity, this wear and tear may be enough to provoke some mild back discomfort or pain at the top of the hip. Usually one side is affected more than the other, however pain that extends across the belt line on both sides is common. At this stage, the damage may not be bad enough or the pain not chronic enough to tip off Sciatica.
As weeks, months or years go by and the problem is left unaddressed, one often goes through ups and downs with their back – never bad enough to get it checked out or bothered enough to actually get it fixed. The whole while, the spine is continuing to wear out, muscles are becoming weak and the body can no longer compensate for the problems that have been brewing all this time. The problem can no longer be ignored.
The butt pain that was once mild starts spreading into the thigh and maybe even below the knee. Now it becomes painful to put pressure through the leg and fears of surgery cause sleepless nights. To most people, it seems like the pain just came out of nowhere, not realizing their on and off back pain was the first warning sign of something more to come.
To be clear, low back pain does not always accompany Sciatica. In fact, a lot of people are unaware of any back pain at all. Everyone’s experience is slightly different, just as every body is different. However, this description is the most common we encounter in our practice. By the time most people seek out help, the pain has gone from bad to worse and has made a strong impact on mobility, energy and mood.
A trip to the doctor for such a pain may result in a prescription for pills, imaging or a discussion about getting shots in the spine. While some of these options may give you temporary relief or could be necessary depending on your circumstance, they aren’t long-term solutions. Sciatica is treatable conservatively through healthy movements and stretches that loosen the muscles and give your spine better support. That’s how physical therapy helps.
After a thorough assessment where we dig deeper into your back or leg pain and explain what’s gone wrong, we’ll offer you our plan on exactly how to fix it. You’ll have a clear understanding of why you’re still experiencing pain and confidence in how you will solve it for good. If you would like to learn more about what options you have for solving your back pain or Sciatica naturally, you can speak to one of our specialists completely free at (504) 407-3477 or send us an email at email@example.com.