Active Release Techniques (ART) and Sciatica…it Quickens YOUR Recovery!
Sciatica is 1 of the more common muscle/joint conditions that we deal with. Often, if one believes that their pain is running down their leg (does not matter if it back or front), it is sciatica. Chicagoans who sit for much of the day at their job and those who are more sedentary and not active are more prone to developing sciatica. This post will address sciatica, how it can be treated, and some easy tips to avoid ever dealing with this painful injury.
Sciatica affects the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body that starts in the lower back and sacrum and runs down either leg to each foot. It is important to note that sciatica involves 3 key components: 1) weakness with numbness and tingling in the affected lower limb compromising daily activities; 2) the pain is traveling to at least the knee, if not below and 3) the pain is exclusively traveling to the buttock and back of the affected lower limb, NOT the front. Typically, sciatica occurs from overuse to an affected muscle tissue or tissues. Moreover, sciatica can occur due to a disc injury (in the lower back), but also occur from muscle compression of the 1 of the deep hip muscles (most commonly the piriformis muscle) or 1 of the hamstring muscles. This occurs over time and not from trauma usually, but rather from repetitive movement causing the muscle to “squeeze” or compress the nerve as you use these muscles daily. The core muscles (pelvic floor, gluteal, and ab muscles) are largely inhibited when sciatica occurs due to overuse of other muscles for many weeks, months, or years. When the person finally experiences sciatica, it feels like it came on all of a sudden, but it did not. There was a slow buildup.
Treatment of sciatica involves identifying the cause of the pain/problem first. Sports certified chiropractors and/or chiropractors certified in ART are more likely to address this appropriately. These types of professionals analyze your gait, determine which muscles are strong and which muscles are weak leading to the development of sciatica. Once sciatica is identified, then the proper course of treatment is performed to help one recover faster. ART chiropractors stretch the muscles/tendons that are leading to sciatica that occur in all places (except the lower back), and those certified in Nerve Entrapments can properly free the nerve up from where it is compressed to alleviate one’s symptoms. ART helps to break the scar tissue that developed around the muscles causing one’s symptoms leading to improve flexibility, movement, and function. As a side bar, rehab exercises addressed by the sports and/or ART chiropractor to activate and strengthen the correct muscles and manipulation is utilized to the lower back, sacrum, pelvis, and/or hips. These additional treatment tools are important to reducing nerve irritation and inflammation that complement what ART is accomplishing. Several treatments may be necessary depending on the length of time one has dealt with this, but you need to discuss treatment options with your ART/sports chiropractor prior to treatment commencing.
Some easy tips to help avoid sciatica include not sitting for more than 1.5 hours at work, sitting with proper posture at your workspace, and performing different types of workouts Chicago has to offer (HIIT classes, weight training, cardiovascular exercise, and Pilates to name a few). These varying workouts prevent your spine and surrounding tissues from weakening and prevents injury. It is not easy to do all of these activities, but the more diligent you are, the less likelihood of developing sciatica.
It is YOUR Health. Take control!
Brian Marion, DC, CCSP, ART, CKTP
Lincoln Park Chiropractic 2202 N. Lincoln Ave Ste 1 Chicago, Il 60614
(773) 248-2790 www.lincolnparkchiropractic.com