Searing, burning and throbbing pain down the leg are common symptoms of the sciatica pain pattern. It's nasty, I've had it. You think you are tough until this takes you down. An instant solution is to reduce the pain noise. Whatever you need to do (barring drugs and alcohol) to reduce pain will help reduce the energy withdrawal and flick the switch to activate healing.
I remember Dr. Hal Blatman, pain specialist from USA, sharing the following video at a conference. It's a great example of the noise a neuro-muscular area can produce when pain and inflammation area present. This is illustrated through the electromyograph recording on the monitor.
The moral of the video - the more emotional stress we have in our life, the greater the volume of pain noise within the body; the more rest and recovery (meditation in this example) the lower the volume of pain noise.
Four (and a secret 5th & 6th!) Triggers of Sciatica
The real sciatica is associated with a nerve impingement between:
(1) the piriformis muscle in the hip and/or
(2) an L5-S1 disc bulge in the lower part of the spine.
The solutions to these go beyond the scope of today's blog. For now just review my article and try understand which one (or more) of these possible triggers may apply to you.
(3) The next trigger is the hamstring muscle on the back of your leg. It is commonly a tight, or taut, muscle that can compress the sciatic nerve as it travels under, between and within the muscle. The sciatic nerve should floss through the muscle, however when the muscle is adhered to the nerve, it prevents this flossing motion and generates a tugging force which leads to irritation and pain.
(4) The less obvious to patients, yet ironically the MOST COMMON I treat in my clinic, are trigger points within the gluteal muscles. From left to right, this trio includes the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius and gluteus maximus. A trigger point is a hyper irritable spot within a muscle that stimulates the muscle and nerve creating a referral pain pattern - pain that is experienced away from it's actual source. The analogy I share with patients is that your muscles are like the hair on your head. If you don't regularly comb your hair, the hair sticks together. The same with your muscles. If you don't move them or stretch them frequently, the muscle fibers essentially stick together creating muscle knots. If you can now imagine, tangled hair combined with chewing gum stuck in it - this would be comparable to a trigger point within the muscle. It takes longer to release and is usually more painful to have treated.
The secret 5th trigger is associated with your digestive system. We all have incredible relationships that are continually communicating back and forth between the organs (viscera) and the muscles and skin (somato). These are known as somato-visceral reflexes. For example, your lower back pain can be caused by an undetected digestive problem or vice versa, your constipation may be triggered by muscle imbalances in your lower back and pelvis. I recommend to remove grains, dairy and sugar from your diet for a 30-day period and take note of your symptoms of pain and inflammation. If they reduce or disappear, pat yourself on your pain-free back!
The secret 6th trigger relates to your emotions. Did you know that you have a second brain in your body? It is the enteric nervous system that houses 500-million neurons in the digestive system. The old adage of 'listen to your gut' actually has some science to back it up! If you are experiencing a perception of high stress related to your health, career, finances or relationships then it's time to rip off the band aid and deal with your mindset behind them. Our energy chakras from our throat to sex organs channel our sense of purpose and fulfillment in these areas of our life. With imbalances in these energy centers, symptoms can arise that include digestive issues and musculo-skeletal stress, tension and pain. THESE ARE NATURAL SIGNS from your body trying to communicate with you. If you feel frustrated and in despair because you've tried all physical therapies, then it's time to plunge into your nutritional and emotional diet.
Today's Solution - My #1 Massage To Release the Gluteal Muscles I teach you how to self-massage using a travel roller, foam roller and/or lacrosse ball. You can have someone use their hand, palm or forearm following the same technique demonstrated in my video with one minor change. I would recommend to do partner massage on a bed, couch or the floor with the patient lay on their side. The video shares everything you need to know to self-massage your glutes. Happy Butt Massage!
Wishing you a life of Health, Happiness & Vitality!
Jason Barlow, RMT.
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