Back Pain and Sciatica

Treating The Cause,
Not Just The Symptoms

It ‘s estimated that 80% of us will experience lower back pain at some point in our lives. Lower back pain is most commonly caused by irritation of the joints in your spine (your Facet joints), muscle strains or sprains and/or irritation of one or more of the nerves in the lower back. Very rarely, there is a more serious underlying condition that is causing the back pain. As Chiropractors,  we are trained to spot these.

Why Do The Joints Get Irritated?

There are several reasons that joints get irritated and can become pain producing. Some of the most common are:

Repetitive Movements

Doing something repetitively like lifting or twisting can cause irritation over a period of time.

back man

Poor Posture

We all aim for good posture
however long periods sat at a desk,
in a car or just on the sofa in a poor
posture can also cause irritation and
inflammation in the facet joints.

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Falls and Trauma

Such as a road traffic accident or a fall from a ladder is another reason that the joints may be irritated.

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Stress

Can exacerbate the issue and slow
your bodies healing time by up to 30%. The tightness in your muscles during periods of stress can pull on the spine and leave you feeling achey and sore.

Muscle sprains and strains

There are several groups of muscles in your lower back that help you to bend, twist and move whilst protecting your spine. It is easy to pull a muscle and this can often feel initially like a sharp stabbing pain. Often, patients report that their back simply feels tight or in spasm. Your muscles may be in spasm because your body is protecting you from moving too much, this is often a sign that you have underlying dysfunction in the spine, hips or pelvis.

Sciatica

The most common cause of Sciatica is a pinched nerve in your lower back. There are 5 nerves in your lower back that supply your legs, bowel and bladder. They form the sciatic nerve and travel down your leg to your foot. It is the largest nerve in the body which often makes it the most painful!

Trapped nerves

Many things can cause a trapped nerve, here are the most common: 1. Facet Irritation - As discussed above, these can cause inflammation in the area that also irritates the nerve as it exits the spine.  2. A Disc Bulge - The discs are the shock absorbers of our spine. As we get older and as a result of a lifetime's work, these discs can dry out and an tear. This is common and many of us will have them and never know! However, if the bulge presses on the nerve it can cause pain. 3. Piriformis Syndrome - The Piriformis muscle is a small muscle in your glutes (bum muscles) that helps you with actions such as lifting your leg in and out of the car. The sciatic nerve often pierces this muscle or lies very near to it. If the Piriformis  muscle becomes very tight it can pinch the Sciatic nerve. Piriformis often becomes tight in runners or those sat down at a desk all day. 4. A mass lesion or infection in the spine - This is very rare and often accompanied by a distinct set of symptoms. Your Chiropractor or GP are well-trained to spot these signs.

Pins and needles, tingling and numbness

These are common symptoms of a pinched nerve. Imagine a pinched nerve a bit like trapping your thumb in a door: first it hurts, then if left there it would go tingly or give you pins and needles and eventually it would go numb. Once the nerve is no longer pinched or trapped these symptoms will usually go.

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