THE SCIATICA MUSCULOSKELETAL CHECKLIST
FOR ME TO REMEMBER HOW TO CARE FOR THIS VITAL STRUCTURE
tba, in process
Caution: Check with the proper professional before implementing any of these, as these are only a summary of what I learned for my own benefit.
Either refer to this list online or copy and paste it into your own word document.
Some links may require a membership in the one recommended site. I recomment the membership, which I did, for $29.95.
Basic Piriformis Stretch (note pull leg to chest with opposite arm and pull knee to opposite shoulder)
Stretch Breaks!: Just taking a stretch break (or do some of the exercises shown in the next chapter) for 30 seconds to a minute every 20 to 30 minutes can go a long way toward preventing problems.
Pillows under knees when on back.
Pillow between knees when on side!
Sit-ups and crunches increase pressure in the spine, and may greatly increase pressure on sensitive, already irritated nerves.
Avoid hamstring stretching if you have active sciatica, especially by bending forward at the waist when standing or sitting.
The reason why you should avoid hamstring stretches is that although tight hamstrings are sometimes a contributing cause to low back problems, if you try to stretch the hamstrings when you are having acute disc-related symptoms, there is a tendency to stretch the sciatic nerve and its component nerve roots as well. If those nerve elements are already irritated, stretching them will only make things worse – often MUCH worse.
You may benefit from hamstring stretches once the nerve irritation subsides as part of a rehabilitation program, but wait until you are feeling better, and stick to stretching by lying on your back and bringing the leg towards your body, rather than bending your body toward the leg while standing or sitting.
Avoid carrying or lifting something with your arms extended out in front of you.
Avoid bending forward at the waist when standing or sitting.
Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time, particularly in a slouched position or in an unsupportive seat.
Avoid trying to lift something that is very heavy for you.
Avoid twisting repeatedly or while holding something heavy when standing or sitting.
Avoid lifting weights with poor form or body position, or "cheating" a lift by jerking a weight up to gain momentum. Lifting the appropriate amount of weight for your strength level with good form and slow, controlled movements will build muscle much faster than using momentum to lift a heavier weight that you cannot control.
Avoid or at least limit high-impact activities like running, jumping, contact sports, off road driving or cycling, snow skiing on uneven terrain, and boating or water/jet skiing on choppy waters.
The other recommended precaution is to only use these products for a few days at a time because long-term daily use of anti-inflammatory drugs can actually interfere with healing by suppressing the body’s ability to produce collagen.
Ironically, although aspirin and ibuprofen are commonly-used to treat the symptoms of degenerative discs and degenerative spinal arthritis, these medications appears to actually speed up the progression of these conditions when used daily for extended periods of time.
Because joint cartilage is composed of collagen, the collagen-suppressing effect of these medications interferes with the repair and reconstruction of the joints, thereby accelerating degeneration, even though the medication reduces symptoms for a time.
among the most popular and best- documented by scientific research are: omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA – mostly from fish oil), bromelain, hesperidin, quercetin, curcumin (tumeric), MSM, ginger, and aloe vera.
The "chondroprotective" supplements are those that provide building blocks for the body to produce new cartilage. One of the most popular of these is glucosamine, which comes in the sulfate and chloride forms, as well as something called N-acetyl glucosamine. For joint cartilage repair, the sulfate and chloride forms are the most researched and appear to be equally effective.
In addition to glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, MSM (also mentioned above as an anti-inflammatory), and SAM-e all appear to help the body repair joint cartilage. Again, for the sake of simplicity, I recommend a combination product containing at least glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM (my suggested daily dose would be approximately 1000 mg each of glucosamine and chondroitin).
One other group of supplements that may provide some help in the form of temporary symptom relief is the natural muscle relaxers. These include valerian root (if you happen to get a bottle and open it up – it’s supposed to smell that bad!), passion flower (passiflora), and hops. In case you were wondering, yes, that's the same hops as in beer. You can use hops in supplement form, or if you really get desperate, adequate quantities of the beer form will usually take at least some edge off the pain (this suggestion is “tongue-in cheek”, but in reality self- medicating with alcohol for symptom relief may
Inversion machines (traction)
There are some special back braces that can be used in the course of sciatica treatment that provide stabilization and partial decompression of the spine, but these are usually only dispensed by licensed healthcare providers as a part of an overall treatment regimen. Such doctor-prescribed braces are much more restrictive to movement than the typical industrial back support.
Another passive therapy that has at-home treatment possibilities is light therapy using either LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) or “Cold” Lasers. Usually the red- colored lights are the most effective for pain and inflammation control. Simply shining the light over the area of pain and on the low back (where the nerves that form the sciatic nerve arise) can start to reduce pain within a few minutes.
If you do have oxygen available to you, it is definitely worth a try. If not, simply doing deep breathing exercises (breathe in slowly as deeply as you can, hold the breath for a few moments, and then slowly breathe out fully before breathing in again) will raise the oxygen content of your blood and may help ease pain.