Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sciatic Pain Relief

Every day, sciatic nerve pain debilitates thousands of people. Many people just deal with the nagging pain in their butt (literally) and push on through their day. There can be several reasons for sciatic nerve pain (many of which we will not discuss here) and finding relief can sometimes be more difficult than sitting through an episode of American Idol.

Often times, pain is wrongly attributed to a “tight muscle” when it is actually an irritated nerve. Getting a proper diagnosis is very important because treating the muscle for tightness (ex: hamstring stretching) will most likely irritate the nerve more.

One of the techniques I have seen work many times in situations of sciatic nerve pain is Nerve Flossing. This is a great technique that can work in as little as one time of performing it.

Scientists have suggested that nerves have the ability to create their own pathways as long as they can move. This makes sense since so many people find relief through “flossing”.

The idea of “nerve flossing” is to pull the cord and nerves from one end while releasing at the other end, and then to switch directions. Flexing at the cervical spine creates a pull on the cranial end of the spine and a release from the caudal end. As your knee extends at the same time your cervical spine extends, you reverse the pull.

Caution: Be very conservative in your first time of doing this. While this can be an unbelievable technique for chronic sciatica, it can also be an onset. If the nerve is adhered, it will not slide. Therefore, the problem will be exacerbated. If you feel no change or relief the next day, continue flossing.

Some Tips:
1. Keep the motion slow. Each cycle should last about 5 seconds.
2. Make sure the flexion/extension motion is coordinated
3. Begin with 10 repetitions. If it feels okay, continue to perform it several times per day.
4. Do not floss within 2 hours after rising from bed.

* Stuart McGill, Low Back Disorders second edition 2007
* Butler, 1999