If you suffer from sciatic nerve pain and are searching for a mainstream or an alternative pain relief, it is a good idea to understand the possible causes of your pain.
On this page we consider Western classification. On our Sciatica Symptoms page you can find out how ancient Chinese Medicine differentiates it.
What is Sciatica?
The word sciatica itself is a medical term for a pain caused by low back conditions.
Experienced usually on one side of the body, the pain radiates down the back or outside of the leg along the nerve and/or its branches, often all the way to the ankle even toes. When it is consistently felt below the knee the condition is considered ‘genuine’ sciatica.
The root of the sciatic nerve, the longest peripheral nerve of the body, emerges from the spine in the lumbar area, where the nerve roots may become irritated, inflamed, compressed or some other way adversely affected. The cause of sciatic nerve pain could be one of these conditions.
Starting where the sciatic nerve emerges from the spinal canal in the lumbar area, a disk that is suppose to provide cushion between the vertebra, may have lost its shape and is now pressing on the nerve therefore causing sciatica symptoms.
The name Bulging Disk is used when the gel-like center pushes against the disk’s outer wall. And when the center breaks through the bulge, the condition is called a Herniated Disc. In both cases, the gel-like center presses on the root causing pain.
Herniated Disk results in a more severe condition because the disc material that leaks out contains an acidic chemical irritant (hyaluronic acid) that causes nerve inflammation.
Degenerative Disk Disease (DDD) is a result of an ageing process, which affects the healthy shape and function of the discs. This can result in a bulging or herniated disk and therefore in sciatic nerve pain.
Piriform Syndrome. The sciatic nerve runs under the piriformis muscle. From the lower back, this muscle connects to the thighbone and helps you rotate your hip. A muscle spasms in the Piriform can compress and cause pain. Not easily identified by X-ray or MRI, it may be difficult to diagnose and treat.
In Pregnancy the extra weight of the womb can cause pressure on the spine and compress the sciatic nerve. After the childbirth, the symptoms usually subside.
Spinal Stenosis. The nerves travel through the spinal canal and if the canal space in the lower back narrows because of a bone overgrowth, for instance, the pressure can be the reason for the sciatic nerve pain.
Spinal Tumors and Spinal Infections are rare but if this happens, they can compress the nerve causing pain.
In a condition called Spondylolisthesis, a vertebra slips over the one below it. This can pinch the nerve root leading to sciatica.
Trauma in the lower back as a result of an accident can cause a pinched nerve and therefore acute pain that radiates along the side or back of the leg.
It may also be that the body has had earlier injuries such as ski accidents, which I personally experienced when young. The pressure on the nerve root increases year by year finally manifesting in excruciating sciatic nerve pain.
In my case, the disk between the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae became herniated therefore pressing on the nerve root and causing the pain which increased slowly.
For years, the pains I experienced were treated with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Remedies but periodically, particularly when the weather was cold and damp, they returned with vengeance.
Eventually, a successful Micro Disectomy was performed, which set me permanently free from pain. For this, I am truly thankful for our modern medicine.
In addition to the above classification, the chronic back and leg pains can be seen as Rheumatic Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteo Arthritis and Gout.
Job Dissatisfaction, Stress or Emotional Distress are often correlated with both, acute and chronic back and sciatic nerve pain.
Our non-invasive Acupuncture Stress Relief, Guided Meditation and other Holistic Healing Resources can help you.
Stress can cause many symptoms and our health seems always much more valuable after we lose it.
Isn’t that the truth, but not to worry!
Here you can learn to use our unique, yet proven Stress Relief Resources based on ancient Chinese Medicine that includes easy to apply Non-invasive Acupuncture.
You will learn about:
Chinese Medicine Stress Therapy
Anxiety Self Help
Acupuncture for Insomnia
Office Stress Relief with Guided Meditation
Our Acupuncture Stress Relief methods can help you build resilience in order to manage your life with its twists and turns.
What Is Stress?
From the dictionary: Stressed out – debilitated because of stress. The Condition or adverse circumstances likely to disturb the normal physiological or psychological functioning of an individual – distress caused by this.
Root: middle English >distress, old French >estress–narrowness, Latin >scrictus-strict.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective on Stress.
Chi or Vital Energy flow is restricted.
Most physical-emotional-spiritual disorders manifest first as chi malfunction. Harmonious flow of energy, necessary for the nourishment and maintenance of tissues, organs and glands, is restricted.
Disorders of vital energy may later progress to affect blood, tissues and organs – through this our emotions and our spirit. This can then lead to physical illnesses such as cancer, which in Chinese Medicine is viewed as a blood stagnation.
Undisturbed chi flows naturally within the body, including the brain, considered to be the office, which directs the essential operations and energies. These, in turn, are governed by the heart.
By learning and using wise Strategies for Self-Healing and Prevention you can integrate with the Unstoppable Creative Power of the Original Source.
This Return to our original Brilliance is a program of consciously charting and experiencing our way back from the point of 'clouds of unknowing', which hide within every disharmony, pain, stress, within everything that is bothering you.
Each one of us has a special power point to awaken to the Life Force Energy, the point being somewhat similar to a light switch we use to turn on the lights. By using wise strategies and tools consciously, we can switch on the Light and heal ourselves from dis-harmonies, and we can prevent illnesses. Plus be happy and joyfully use our creativity in many other wonderful ways!
We must learn to experience this Life Force within us. It is easy for us to witness its working in the vibrancy and beauty of undisturbed nature – within and without. The fluidity of the Original Intelligence is all around us, and it is within us to awaken to and experience in most uplifting ways.
As an example of this, I like to share with you the following story; A dear friend called to tell me that her 96-year-old mother, equally dear to me, had fallen and was now in the hospital. I found her in the emergency room on her back in bed. Her eyes were closed and pain covered her usually happy face.
I stood there for a moment, then laid my hand on her forehead. She opened her eyes, joy spread on her face and we laughed in our usual, childlike way.
Xrays had been taken and fractures were found surrounding the artificial part placed in when the hip was operated on thirteen years ago.
You can imagine the pain!
During my visit the pain was not visible nor did she complain.
I was thinking, why is this so?
We have known each other for over five years but had never discussed why we feel so happy together every time we meet. Never discussed faith or God.
This time, sitting by her bed, I wanted to understand it more.
So I asked her to close her eyes and said, 'Think about your Love of God, only that!' Her eyes remained closed as I watched her.
I saw great peace permeating her face, even felt it spreading on mine.
Among all that noise of the emergency room, we had found silence and peace!
I realized; That's It!
Not really wanting to disturb what was, I finally asked, 'Is there pain now?'
I heard her quiet voice say, 'No pain.'
'So, this is the job for you while being here,' I said, 'To remember the Presence of this great Love. Will you take this job?'
Ruth laughed, 'Yes, I am happy to take this as my job, but you know about my memory being so poor!'
'You just have to make the Remembrance so constant that there is no time for a memory lapse. Or vary it a bit, like remembering how beautiful your African violets are, how thankful you are to your daughter serving your coffee each morning, or just our joy of being together. There are many other happy occasions for you to remember, each one leading back to great Love!'
We looked at each other, laughed again. I kissed her cheek, then left.
On my way home I thought how appropriate the experience was. My heart sang with thankfulness to that great Love which Ruth had made her own and naturally expressed when someone else resonated the same in a focused way.
Our joint experience is a perfect illustration of the Return to Brillianceessence, New Medicine. Simply sharing our joy, Ruth and I had taken a shortcut to the Essence of what truly matters. 'I want to know the mind of God, the rest is details' – Einstein.
I want to live in great Love, Ruth would say, the same thing!
This is so amazing and such a seemingly simple task for us to do. But is it? Why is it not practised, why is there so much suffering? Why is it only discussed by a few doctors with their patients? Let us try to get answers to this why! Each one of us!
Ruth's follow-up-days amazed everyone. She was able to move around with assistance in two weeks. Her doctors could not explain but cheered her on, the nurses visited her frequently for she spread her happiness to all. Xrays taken five weeks after her fall showed that the fractures had healed, and she was able to go home soon after that.
Much Love to you! Please let me know your questions and comments!