Sciatica or Sciatic nerve pain is a very common symptom for a variety of causes. These can include but are not limited to herniated disks, lower back strain and usually an impingement to the sciatic nerve. Sciatica can develop over time or be a sudden result of a quick and usually misaligned movement. Sciatica can be a short term or long term condition. Sciatica can be very debilitating and exhausting because there is often a loss of mobility and a good deal of pain involved with having sciatica.
The Sciatic nerve runs from the lower back through the Gluteals down the legs and finally branches to the foot. It exits the spinal column through the Sciatic Foramen created by the sacrum and hip bones. Any tight muscle or misalignment through these areas can cause sciatica. The lower back and Gluteals are particularly sensitive to strain especially if there is weakness or instability in the hip or Sacral-Iliac joint (base of the spine). The Periformis muscle can be responsible for “strangling” the nerve if it is very tight as it also lies in tandem with the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica can be a result of an already tired body pushing itself too hard as in my case. Years ago I suffered for about three weeks with sciatica and I still cringe when I think of the pain and exhaustion associated with it. I was teaching an introductory workshop on Cranial-Sacral therapy. The class was on the floor as many body-work classes can be. It was a soft, carpeted floor but the class involved a lot of twisting and turning on my part as I instructed and then observed students. The next day I had a client who had a very old and heavy table. As I lifted it from one room to the next I suddenly felt my back snap. It really startled me but I continued with the session. The next morning I couldn’t get out of bed. It took 15 minutes to stand up. I knew I was in trouble. Fortunately through some great physical therapy and massage it healed and I was able to function after about three weeks of dealing with the pain of sciatica. Now I try to schedule lighter days as my work can be very physical. I do not lift as many tables anymore but if I have to try to be more mindful of engaging my abdominal muscles when lifting.