Hey, El Paso. I’m Dr. David Middaugh, physical therapist from El Paso Manual Physical Therapy. I’ve got 5 top tips to beat sciatica for you today. The sciatic nerve is the biggest nerve in the body. It comes off the lower back, right in this region, and it actually runs all the way down to the tips of your toes. The nerve changes names past the knee, but it’s the same nerve that runs all the way down to your toes. That’s why sometimes, when people have really bad sciatic problems, they might feel it in their lower back, they might feel pain in their thigh, even the calf muscle and into the foot. Some people will have pain, of course, numbness, tingling sensations are also very common, and one of the sneakier sensations people get is cramps, like hamstring cramps, calf cramps, and even foot cramps, like cramps in the arch of their foot or even into the toes. If you’ve got those symptoms, you probably have a sciatica-type problem.
So tip number 1 to beat sciatica is avoid stretching it. Nerves don’t like to be stretched, and even though it might feel good in the short term, you don’t want to be stretching it for long periods of time, because it will keep the sciatica problem active, and it’ll get worse over time.
Second tip to beat sciatica, avoid massaging it. It might feel really good to get in there and dig on your leg, and loosen things up, or even go get a professional massage done, but if it is real sciatica, it’s a nerve-related problem, nerves should not be rubbed on real actively. Just think about your funny bone, right here. If you ever hit your funny bone, it’s a nerve, it’s called the ulnar nerve. I mean, even just tapping that area, you might feel a little sensitive, or tender, or a zing into the arm. Pressure is what you’re applying to that area, and if you do the same thing to your sciatic nerve in your leg, it won’t be a good thing for the long term. You can actually keep the sciatica problem there for longer.
Tip number 3, avoid painful activities. For some people, long periods of walking or running, anything where they’re stretching their legs out quite a bit, bending over to touch the ground or reach their feet, pick up stuff from the floor, that can be very aggravating as well. We’ve had some clients that get their tongs out from their kitchen to grab stuff, or they buy one of those gripper, those arms that’s got the gun handle, that has a pincer grip at the end. That’s something that you can use in the short term. Of course, you don’t want to be doing that for the long term, but if you’ve got a sciatica problem, if you can avoid any motions that bring the pain on, do that right away, because sciatica problems can blow up very fast if you keep aggravating it, so avoid painful motions.
Tip number 4 to beat sciatica is avoid popping your back. In some cases, we get people that actively will stretch and twist, or bend a certain way and pop their back, and although it can provide some instant, temporary relief, what might be happening, this is often the case, is that joint in the back that pops is already loose, and there’s nerves that come out of the sides of the spine in the back, and you might be compressing that nerve. And if you’re doing that repeatedly, if that’s how you’re getting relief right now, that is not a good long-term solution. It’s actually going to probably cause a disc problem if it’s not already there. It’s definitely going to irritate your sciatica problem in the near future. I mean, it could happen even by the end of the week, a few days of repeated popping can really flare up the sciatica problem, so avoid popping your back.
Tip number 5 to beat sciatica, get professional help as quick as possible. Sciatica’s not something that you should deal with on your own. If you happen to get a sciatica, and it’s going away within a couple of days, and it’s getting better and better, great, fantastic for you, glad that it got better on its own! But if it’s hanging out for more than a week, if it’s been a month, multiple months, more than a year, you definitely need to get some professional help. This is so fixable in 97% of the population. Unfortunately, we get cases here that people have gone for years with their sciatica problem. It may have been off and on, but they could have figured it out, solved the problem, and not had to deal with it for as much time as they did. So if you’ve got an active sciatica problem that’s been there for a while now, you’re not getting much success with stuff that you’re trying, I really strongly encourage you to get some professional help.
Take advantage of us. If you go to our website, El Paso Manual Physical Therapy’s website, there’s tons of free resources. We’ve got lots of blog posts here. We’ve also got free e-books that you can download and access, so you can get helpful information right now. Take advantage of one of our free discovery visits. It’s a live, in-person visit with a specialist physical therapist that can talk to you about your sciatica problem as well, to see if we’re the right people to help you with it. The way you do that is just call us at our clinic, 915-503-1314, and just ask about a free discovery visit for your sciatica problem. I hope you’re having a wonderful day! See you later. Bye bye!