sciatic nerve neuropathy advice - Sciatica or Piriformis Syndrome - Which is It?
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Sciatica or Piriformis Syndrome - Which is It?

A large amount of confusion and misunderstanding exists concerning the conditions sciatica and piriformis syndrome. There are some who insist that the two conditions are actually the same thing, but even though they can have symptoms that are very much alike, the underlying causes differ.


Back Pain affects over 80% of adults at some stage. Yes you have heard and seen this countless times before. You may be reading this is pain right now and are one of these statistics. But...


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 So if you have any of these tests positive, and it could be one or all of them, back pain is likely to occur. It may be weeks or even months, but it will happen.

It is important to distinguish between sciatica and piriformis syndrome, because the treatment for the conditions varies, and getting the diagnosis right typically leads to more effective treatment.

SCIATICA, Gridhrasi in Ayurveda, is a Vata roga, characterized by Sharp Shocking pain radiating from the Hip unto Thigh, Calf or the Toes in one or both the Legs. Numbness, Weakness, Tingling sensation & Discomfort along the path of the Sciatic Nerve are the results of Compression, Irritation & Inflammation of the Sciatic Nerve.

Two simple maneuvers will distinguish sciatica from piriformis syndrome in the majority of cases (when the problem is one versus the other and not both conditions at the same time). First, in a seated position, if one straightens the leg on the painful side (so that the leg is parallel to the floor), and the sciatica symptoms increase, this is usually a sign of true sciatic nerve irritation.

The second maneuver is done in two parts. First, from the sitting position one bends the leg and pulls the knee on the painful side towards the same-side shoulder. In all but the most severe cases, there is usually no major increase in pain in this position. The second part of the maneuver is to pull the knee toward the opposite side shoulder. An increase in the sciatica-like symptoms is a strong indication of piriformis syndrome.

Place your hands on your hips and see if one side is higher than the other. One foot may point straight and the other not. Any changes, especially significant changes, indicate postural changes that are usually a sign of muscular imbalances. These muscle imbalances will lead to extra pressure on areas of your back leading to back pain.

This will save you a lot of pain, time, money and grief, as back pain affects your daily enjoyment of your working and social life. The following is a simple testing procedure to work out if you are likely to suffer back pain in the not too distant future. It could be lower back pain, sciatica, upper back pain or even neck pain, but if these tests are positive, then back pain is likely to occur.

Back Pain Test 3: This is called a straight leg raise. If at any time performing this test you notice any pain, stop it immediately. Perform this test gently and slowly...

But since the most effective treatment for the two conditions varies signficantly, it is important to determine the correct diagnosis if at all possible. In most cases there is an easy way to distinguish between sciatica and piriformis syndrome.

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If your pelvis is twisted, when you lie down one side will put more pressure on your hand and less on the other side. This indicates a mis-alignment in the pelvis and lower back. This will commonly lead to back pain, whether it is lower back pain or sciatica.

You may notice one shoulder higher than the other, one shoulder may be turned inwards compared to the other. Take note of any difference in the gap between your arm and your body - it may be greater on one side.

The most common causes are Lumbar herniated disc, Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, Degenerative disc disease, Aging, Osteoporosis, Spondilitis, Pelvic Infections, Tumors, Diabetic neuropathies etc.

Ayurveda believes that Sciatica/Gridhrasi is caused by the aggravation of vayu. Sometimes the vitiation of kapha along with vata brings on the attack. At times constipation precipitates or aggravates an attack of sciatica. Ayurveda prescribes the perfect prescription for Gridhrasi. It includes:

Majority of these patients give a history of lifting heavy weights on their head or back, adopting improper spinal postures while sitting or bending forward, riding two wheelers on bumpy roads, female patients standing for a longer time in kitchens - these all contribute to the unbearable & excruciating pain called Sciatica.

What if you are not experiencing back pain now. Is there a simple and reliable way to determine if back pain is likely to occur? After all if you know it is going to happen you can do things to avoid it or remove it before it happens.

Sciatica refers to irritation of the sciatic (often mis-spelled as syatic or psyatic) nerve, that arises from nerve roots in the lumbar spine. The most common cause of sciatic nerve irritation, or "true" sciatica is compression of one or more of its component nerve roots due to disc herniation or spinal degeneration in the lower lumbar region. Sciatica usually begins in the buttock area and, depending on the severity of the underlying nerve comression and inflammation, may extend down the entire leg to the ankle and foot.

Back Pain Test 2: Lie on your back and slide the back of your hands under your pelvis at belt height. Notice if one side is easer to place your hand under. There may be a height difference or it may appear that there is more weight crunching on one hand.

External Therapies: includes the famous Panchakarma & Rejuvenation therapies. Abhyangam, Nadi Swedam, Elakizhi, Pizhichil, Kati vasthi, Matra vasthi and other Ayurvedic procedures are performed accordingly for a period of 7/14/21/28 days thus treating the underlying cause of the disease without any side effects.

 
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Sciatica is actually a symptom of back pain, but it is one caused by a nerve getting pressure. There are a few reasons why this could happen, but spine is the most likely place it occurs. Sometimes our spinal discs will burst or just get overly deflated. This causes the vertebrae to grind together at points and this will often be on a nerve. This will send out the shock of pain. Also a tense muscle has the ability of putting pressure onto the nerve and creating this pain as well.

About the Author:

Dr. George Best is in private practice in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, check out Dr. Best's free e-book and online video course to assist in understanding and treating sciatica and piriformis syndrome, including in-depth instruction on sciatica exercises at http://www.SciaticaSelfCare.com .

The important sciatica stretches that you should be doing are quite simple. The first one involves you lying on your back, pulling your knees up to your chest and hugging them. This stretches out your lower back, which doesn't usually get stretched. Another stretch is grabbing onto something above you and hanging that way. It's sort of like hanging on the monkey bars. It stretches out your torso.

In some cases, piriformis syndrome may cause true sciatic nerve irritation, as the sciatic nerve may run underneath or even through the middle of the piriformis, so contraction of the piriformis may produce sufficient compression of the sciatic nerve to produce actual nerve symptoms. This is one of the main sources of confusion when it comes to distinguishing true sciatica from piriformis syndrome.

Back Pain Test 1: Look at your self in a mirror. Stand without trying to get into the perfect position. Just stand in a relaxed fashion and observe any postural differences.

Dietary Regimen: Pulses, beans, and fried foods should be prohibited. Curds and other sour substances should be avoided. Saffron, in small quantities, should be mixed with milk and given to the patient to drink. Life style Regimen: Gentle exercise of the leg is advised. Exposure to damp and cold should be avoided. Swimming in warm water is a good exercise for legs. The patient should use a hard bed and wear a lumbo-sacral belt. Yogic exercises like Halasana, Shalabhasana, and Bhujangasana may be undertaken after pain has subsided to prevent recurrence of sciatica. Internal Medications: include many types of Ayurvedic preparations like Thailams, Grithams, Gutika, Pills, Lehyams, Churnams, Asavaaristams & Kashayas are prescribed by a qualified Doctor after a thorough examination of the patient.

I wanted to share with you the important sciatica stretches that you can do to help get rid of back pain. There are a lot of people out there that have back problems and most of these people would describe it as the greatest pain you'll ever experience. I think it's important to understand that it isn't a sharp pain that hits you in one spot; it's a sharp pain that spreads across your back. You feel it everywhere and your back tenses up just at the anticipation of more pain to come. The good news is that you can do some easy stretches that will help relieve the pain. I'm going to share with you the important sciatica stretches that you need to do.

In the later & complicated stages of Sciatica, the gait of the affected person resembles that of an Eagle's walk & the inflamed nerve appears like Eagle's beak, hence the term Gridhrasi.

Learn more about Physical Therapy For Sciatica

Lie on your back and raise one leg slowly as far as you can. Rest your leg down gently and then do the same for the other side. Notice if it is easier to lift one leg compared to the other. Is there any pain or stiffness performing this test? Can you lift one leg higher than the other?

Dr Graeme Teague is an expert in the structural field, and has been in practice since 1991. His newly launched web site The Back Pain Advisor - http://www.back-pain-advisor.com - strives to give you valuable and expert advice, tips and information on your back pain issues.

If you are experiencing back pain now, you should aim to correct it now before it becomes worse or chronic. If you are not experiencing back pain, and one of these tests is positive, then you should correct the imbalances now. After all prevention is easier than cure. Learn to correct your back pain issues before they become painful.

Piriformis syndrome, also known as "pseudo-sciatica" (meaning "false sciatica"), is actually referral pain and other symptoms (tingling, numbness, etc.) caused by tightness and knots of contraction in the piriformis muscle, which runs from the upper femur bone to the edge of the sacrum, the triangular pelvic bone that is below the lumbar spine. The symptoms of piriformis syndrome are very similar and may be indistinguishable from true sciatica.

If any of these occur, the test is positive which indicates there is pelvic and lower back imbalance and muscular imbalances. Lower back pain, sciatica or back pain in general is likely to occur.

As mentioned earlier, the symptoms of true sciatica are very similar to piriformis syndrome. Both cause pain, tingling, burning, "electrical shock" sensations, and/or numbness down the leg, often all the way to the foot. In addition, both sciatica and piriformis syndrome tend to be at least partially related to biomechanical functional problems in the joints of the back and pelvis and they may even be present simultaneously in the same person, so it an be difficult to tell them apart.

For more information on lower back pain issues just visit Lower Back Pain - http://www.back-pain-advisor.com/lower-back-pain.html

Receive a free e-book on back pain when you subscribe to our newsletter, just click here - Back Pain Adviser - http://www.back-pain-advisor.com/back-pain-adviser.html


Anna R. Guidry

 
 
     
 
 





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