I’m Dr. Tom Johnson from Kalani Total Health Center.
Today we’re talking about sciatica. Sciatica as a clinical diagnosis, a condition that is very specific to compression of the sciatic nerve or pathology of the Lumbar Sacral nerve roots.
Symptoms of sciatica are very wide-ranging and different for different populations and for the different causes of sciatica. Symptoms can range from sharp pain to shooting pain into the left or right gluteal regions and can be isolated to the gluteal region. It’s not typically just localized back pain that definitely is gluteal radiation or referred pain.
Pain can be sharp stabbing, electric burning can be dull and achy. Again the symptoms can be very wide-ranging for different people. The pain may come and go, may be increased from sitting to standing, prolonged sitting, prolonged standing repetitive body movements, bending, twisting, lifting mechanics.
Again, it’s a very wide range of condition.
I’ve heard about conditions where the patient claims that they did nothing and they had a flare-up of sciatica just from sleeping in a weird position.
Now, what’s the ideology and risk factors of sciatica?
Well, typically 40 to 50% of the worldwide population will experience sciatica at least once or more in their lifetime. Yearly annual 5% of the population reports flare-ups or first episodes of sciatica. Peak occurrence typically is in the fourth decade of life. That’s usually in our forties. It’s rarely seen under 20 and typically can be seen in our senior citizen geriatric populations as well.
Some of the risk factors include:
being overweight or obese, carrying more weight than your spine than you need to
having weak core strength
being stiff and not flexible
having a job that’s overactive for your body type
having a job that’s very sedentary that you’re sitting too much and very inactive
poor body mechanics of lifting, twisting, bending
degenerative joint disease
What causes sciatica?
It’s a long list.
Wide range of spinal disorders that can be present in our spine, such as herniated disc
Osteoarthritis that produces a canal stenosis
Acute and chronic trauma injuries to the lumbar pelvic hip gluteal complex
Tumors in the lumbar spine that compress the sciatic nerve or the nerve roots
Cauda equina syndrome, the list goes on and on
How sciatica typically diagnosed?
Well, it usually starts with a complete health history, a comprehensive physical examination, which includes active and passive range of motion testing, posture testing, movement testing and gait analysis,
orthopedic testing, neurological testing, palpatory testing, testing of different tissue types and joints, additional imaging such as x-ray, MRI, CAT scan, C.T., and nerve conduction velocity test.
How can sciatica be prevented?
Maintain a healthy, active lifestyle
Keep flexible, keep strong, and keep your body moving
Limit smoking, alcohol, and drug intake
Focus on good posture and healthy body movements
Choose physical activities that are not harmful to your body, not likely to cause an increase in back pain or sciatica
Keep yourself safe, limiting slips and falls
When should I contact your health care provider and why early diagnosis treatment is critical for sciatica?
The earlier we detect the easier it is to correct any condition including sciatica. Severe, unbearable back, hip, and leg pain lasting for more than a few hours is a great sign that something is wrong. It’s time to go to your health care provider and get it checked.
Tingling, numbness, and weakness in the same way foot, loss of bowel, bladder function, sudden severe pain from a new trauma is another likely cause to go get help.
When the condition is affecting your life, your sleep, and your daily life, these are great reasons why you should go get help and have it checked out.
At Kalani Total Health Center, we use a very integrated and multidisciplinary approach throughout the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of your sciatica.
We use a team-based approach that puts the patient at the center of the care, using the best methods of traditional medical care, chiropractic, physical therapy and sports medicine
all together to get you better quicker.
I’m Dr. Tom Johnson from Kalani Total Health Center. You’re one-stop health care shop. Aloha and Mahalo!