How Can I Tell If I Have Sciatica?Unfortunately, not a whole lot is known about sciatica. We often don’t know exactly what kicks it off, what makes it worse, or what the root issue is. In fact, sciatica isn’t a true medical diagnosis, but more of a catch-all term for nerve pain that can be caused by multiple issues. And often, the culprit isn’t that nefarious. For instance, sciatica can be caused just by sitting on a large wallet in your back pocket, putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. You don’t necessarily need your doctor to examine your life with a fine-tooth comb to discover a cause like that. Step one. If you’ve started feeling sciatic nerve pain, ask yourself what you’ve done differently recently, or how your life has changed. Consider whether your favorite chair cushion is worn out or your mattress needs to be replaced. If nothing obvious jumps out, you should enlist your doctor to help with sciatic pain—and to rule out more dangerous possible causes. First off—do you have pain in your lower back, buttocks, or your legs? Is it a muscle pain, or a nerve pain? Note that nerve pain, while it’s often sharper, can be dull as well. Nerve pain has more to do with the depth of the pain—the deeper it is, the more likely you’re feeling a nerve. If it’s nerve pain, you’re dealing with sciatica. And, in many cases, we’ll never know exactly what kicks it off. That’s because it’s usually easier and faster to simply treat and eliminate the pain, than to find out what caused it in the first place. Not in all cases, as I’ll talk about in a moment. But if you can eliminate the pain of sciatica, you can eliminate worry about it as well. I’ve found that stress is often a precursor—nearly every time I ask a patient with unexplained back or leg pain if they’ve been experiencing unusual levels of stress recently, I get an emphatic yes, followed by an explanation of life difficulties. That’s good—sometimes just talking out the stress can be a good first step to relieving pressure. But, here’s the thing—no one is entirely sure about the connection between stress and sciatica. Stress can cause inflammation, which can irritate nerves—that’s a possibility. But it also could just be your body trying to send you the signal that not all is right. For some people, that could come in the form of headaches. For others, it could come out as sciatica. Regardless, once I’ve established that a patient is suffering from sciatica, I have four standard, natural sciatica treatments that I recommend.
How To Treat Sciatica
- Massage. For many people, relaxing the muscles that have tensed up in the back and legs makes a world of difference.
- Acupuncture. What massage does for muscles, acupuncture does for nerves. Most nerve pain is caused by inflammation, and acupuncture does a tremendous job of calming inflammation in nerves.
- Physical Therapy Physical therapy is a more active, involved treatment that deals with your muscles, your nerves, and your skeletal system. If you have a good physical therapist, he or she will be able to fix any structural causes of your sciatica, while simultaneously working out any kinks or problem areas in your muscles or nerves.
- Prolozone One other treatment I offer my patients is an injection of prolozone. Prolozone isn’t a drug. In fact, it’s a mix of homeopathic medicines that encourage the formation of collagen and ozone gas.