Every radiating pain is not sciatic

Specialists treat a lot many conditions of which sciatica is one of the most common ones. This is also one of the most misunderstood conditions and explains why some go so long without getting proper pain management.

What is sciatica?
Pain originating from the buttocks due to the compression or impingement of a single or multiple nerve roots which irritates the sciatic nerve.

Myths about sciatica
1. Leg problems are the root cause of sciatica
2. Sciatica pain affects only the upper legs
3. Sciatica does not cause permanent damage
4. Sciatica is a permanent condition
There are a lot of one sided issues one could have from pelvic or abdominal structures, but it’s not the typical sciatica pain people think of.

Causes of radiating pain
1. Piriformis syndrome (most common)
2. Incorrect/prolonged postural habits
3. Muscular tightness
4. Muscular weakness
5. Occupation involving lifting heavy objects
6. Psycho-social causes
7. Tight clothing
8. Tight waist belts

Sciatica Vs Piriformis syndrome
The symptoms of sciatica and Piriformis syndrome are very similar. Both causes pain, tingling and burning sensations and/or numbness.

Two simple methods that will help differentiate sciatica and Piriformis syndrome

1. While in seated position, if an individual straightens the affected leg so that the leg is parallel to the floor and the sciatica symptoms increases. This could mean sciatica or true sciatic nerve irritation.
2. From a sitting position, the individual should first bend the affected leg and pull the knee towards the same side shoulder. In all but the most severe cases there should not be major increase in pain while in this position. Continuing with the same method the individual should then pull the knee towards the opposite shoulder. An increase in sciatica like symptoms is a strong indication of Piriformis syndrome.

Myofascial trigger point release is a technique of manual therapy which is used widely at SPARRC where-in releasing the muscle and fascia helps in alleviating the symptoms.
These are trigger points felt in the muscle along the course of Sciatic nerve at the posterior compartment of the thigh and the leg. They are generally felt as taut bands in the muscle fibres.
By using Myofascial trigger point release, we release the taut band in the muscles, followed by Cryotherapy(icing) which helps the pain to reduce to minimum without drug intervention, thus relieving the symptoms, like radiating or shooting pain from the troublesome muscles.
The aim of this article is to break the myths that every radiating pain can be related to sciatica. If any such symptoms persist, you can contact us.

– Vraj Patel, Physiotherapist

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