Health & Wellness

Oh my Sciatica

July 19, 2022

Serenity Here
I devour health and wellness information, and love to share everything that works in my life, so you can use the same self care and lessons in yours!
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I was about six months pregnant with my first son, when I had this horrific pain running through my glutes, and then down into my leg. Then it started to affect my back, and literally took me off my feet. It was awful, to the point that I couldn’t even walk straight. I had no idea what the heck was going on, and tossed it away to one more thing that pregnancy was doing to my body. 

At the time, I worked in the restaurant business and on my feet all day. But, that was clearly not working with the pain, so I had to take time off. I remember a friend of mine told me it sounded like my sciatica, in which I replied, “my sciata what!” It wasn’t until I was in school for massage and learned way more about this tricky little sucker that I now better understand what it is, and even how sometimes we can have pain that confuses us as our sciatica. Interesting, right? Let’s break it down!

Our sciatica is a nerve in our body. 

Even better, it’s the longest, thickest nerve, which makes sense that when it’s acting up, it throws a bigger tantrum than my first born was capable of! But, with so many nerves in our body, how do we know it’s the sciatic nerve? Glad you asked. 

It’s often confused with other nerves. 

When we have pain in that region, we often associate it with sciatic pain, but more often than not, it’s not your sciatica. Nerves can cause a host of pain in our body when they’re pinched, irritated or inflamed. When it’s the sciatic nerve, which starts in your low back and runs through your glutes, down your leg, to just below your knee, that’s where you’re gonna feel it. From there, it branches off into other nerves that run down to your toes, so it can even be felt that far down. 

See, this guy isn’t messing around. 

You may feel this on both sides, but usually it’s going to be just one side. Phew!

Low back pain is where I see this guy bringing people in to see me, because it can have a profound effect on pain radiating into the back. Although it’s not always the sciatica, many people will experience sciatica pain at some point in their life. 

If you’re questioning if you have sciatica, you’ll want to see your health care professional first who’ll be able to tell you if that is what’s going on. As a massage therapist, I typically help to soften and manipulate the soft tissue around this nerve, and others, to give room for the sciatica to move and breathe, and give itself permission to release some of the pressure it’s placing on you. 

My broken record speech often entails talking about the body’s connection. 

I like to explain that I’m massaging down by the knee, because of this connection. We often don’t associate other parts of our body as contributor’s when we are feeling pain in a specific area, but as I explained with this guy, this nerve is heading all the way down your body, and that means more than the source of pain needs some mad attention. 

If you’re wondering what you can do to prevent sciatica, it’ll come as no surprise that most of the things you want to focus on are all part of living a healthy lifestyle. That’s kinda the answer for everything, you know! 

For fun, here are 4 things you can make sure you’re paying attention to:

  • Don’t smoke! Where do I start with this one!? I hope at this point if you’re a smoker, you are at least educated on EVERYTHING this does to your health and body. Gone are the days of doctor’s marketing cigarettes. This is the hardest, most simple answer. – quit. As a previous smoker (yep!) I know how hard it is to cut, but man, your body will forever love you back again if you do. Trust me!
  • Eat mostly whole foods. If you do this, a healthy weight will go hand and hand, which is also helpful at preventing sciatica. Taste the rainbow, but not the skittles rainbow, ok!?
  • Low impact cardio. Stretch and maintain a routine that is not hard on your body, like yoga or walking. Incorporate things that help to strengthen your core and your low back gently. 
  • Watch your posture. Sit up straight. You learned that one in kindergarten, yeah? I know you didn’t hear that from me first, but it’s still incredibly important to remember and follow. Our bodies love us, they really do. Let’s love them back, you’re worth it. Be mindful of how you’re sitting, standing, and walking. And move often. 

Sometimes we can be doing all the right things, but the body goes in another direction. 

It happens, but the more we can keep doing things that support a healthy body, in turn support a healthy mind and vice versa, pays off. Keep up the good work, and hopefully, this little, big sucker, doesn’t ever get in your way. But, if he does, you’ll know where to start now!

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